Candice : As you will remember, our little blogets (Nolanparker version of Gaga’s Monsters) we posted an interview with Daisy Waugh a few weeks ago. So, as Phil and I were discussing the questions for Ms Waugh I thought it might be good to get some background material. Next door to our regular tea and cake haunt in Solihull is Waterstones. We popped in and I came away with ‘Last Dance with Valentino’.
Now, not really being a historical drama person myself, and not really being too sure what Daisy’s style was outside the Sunday Times, I didn’t know what to expect but I hoped I’d like it.
‘Dance’ is sent in the 1920’s, around Jennifer and her relationship with the man who becomes Rudolph Valentino. They fall in love but, due to circumstances out of their control, they are then separated. By the time she travels across America to find him again, he is gone from the hotel they are to meet at and she has no other way of getting in touch with him. So 10 long years go by before they meet again, during which time he goes from being a paid dancer to a huge movie star. I’m sure I’m not giving the game away to say Valentino dies in the end leaving Jenny lost and alone after just finding him again.
Based on actual events, Daisy has crafted a fictional story around the mysterious Jenny who Valentino is said to have cried for as he is dying.
Now, you could say I am biased, but I have to say this is the best book I have read in AGES! I couldn’t put it down from the word go as I became totally immersed in the world of Jenny and Rudy as they fight against the class system that confines them and limited communications available at that time. The last section, where she is trying to get in touch with him as he lies dying in the hospital literally left me desperate to know, such that I read it solidly on a train journey from London and then carried on as soon as I got home. I don’t think I said hello to the other half as he walked in the door, I was so desperate for Jenny to get to her Rudy.
I think it helped that the book was based in fact, making the situations that they come up against much more plausible. From my point of view, also helps that the idea of being the one true love of a famous person takes me back to when I had pin ups on my walls and hoped that one day one of them would find me and sweep me off my feet. I also loved the drama and behind the scenes look at Hollywood, being a film buff and actor.
I’ve leant the book to my sister as I think it might make her smile and then its on its way to Phil for a boy’s view-point. I’m now off to see what else Daisy has done as I enjoyed this one so much!