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LAST DANCE ON HOLLADAY STREET by Elisa Carbone

LAST DANCE ON HOLLADAY STREET

By Elisa Carbone

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: March 8th, 2005
ISBN: 0-375-82896-6
Publisher: Knopf

Spurred by the deaths of her foster parents, a 13-year-old finds the mother who gave her away—and why—in this tale from the Old West. A double shock awaits Eva at the Denver address she’s been given: Not only is her mother Sadie white, she’s a prostitute—a profession which Carbone clearly defines while deftly skipping the actual details. With nowhere else to go, Eva reluctantly takes up residence at the “sporting house,” becoming a private dancer to earn her keep under the tutelage of Pearl, her hostile, newly met half-sister, and discovering the horrifying web of debt and prejudice under which everyone in the house is trapped. The author skips what goes on behind that house’s closed doors, but she recreates both the town in 1878, and its male-dominated society, with vivid realism. Though Eva conveniently finds kind-hearted adults stepping in at need to rescue her from both human and animal predators, in the end she does figure out a cleverly credible way to make an honest living for her, Sadie and Pearl. (author’s note) (Fiction. 11-13)