Ambri and Henry were supposed to always be there for each other. And they’ve been through more than a lot— like when Ambri’s sister, Henry’s wife, died. They made it through that together, but then one moment ruined everything and split them apart. However, two years later, Henry’s back in town and, after a chance encounter with Ambri, untold feelings bubble over.
Some romances throw everything at the reader upfront, and others opt for a more careful attitude, letting information trickle out and build up. Author Aimee Brown is an expert in the second approach. Sure, at the beginning, there’s an understood connection between Henry and Ambri. But Brown keeps their history close at hand, doling it out as complications in the present unfold, and ultimately producing a completely layered view of the two. It almost sneaks up on the reader.
Part of what makes this so successful is that Ambri and Henry and such rich characters. Writing in alternating first person chapters, Brown gives each a time to shine, showcasing both their triumphs and problems. Ambri is a food writer somewhat struggling with her company. Henry is readjusting to Portland, though haunted by the death of his wife. These subplots are compelling, and Brown makes it impossible not to root for these characters to find their happy endings— however they might look.
Plus this book oozes tension on every page. Both Ambri and Henry are in new relationships that seem to be in good places. They’re hesitant to even see each other, and Ambri is driven by pure rage from their previous encounter. Yet Brown continually finds creative ways of forcing these two together. It’s complicated and messy without ever veering into melodramatic territory.
Most importantly, all loose ends are tied together in the end in a realistic and satisfying way. However, that would be impossible without Brown’s careful crafting. Her sharp writing and attention to her characters make this book soar.
Title: The Last Dance
Author: Aimee Brown
Publisher: Aria Fiction
Publication Date: April 16, 2019
Note: I received a free ARC of this book through NetGalley.