Praise for One Last Dance
WINNER! 2006 Independent Publisher Book Awards, Best Regional Fiction (Great Lakes Region).
FINALIST!! 2005 National Readers' Choice Award, Romance Writers of America
“Who better than Mardo Williams to convey the uncertainty and fulfillment of love between senior citizens? While promoting his 1996 book Maude (1883-1993): She Grew Up with the Country, he met a woman who became his live-in companion… Williams' writing shows a ready wit, and neither Dixie nor Morgan is spared from comic consequences. In the first scene, Dixie gets creamed with a birthday cake; later, Morgan finds himself wiping a guest's spilled wine with a pair of Dixie's lace-trimmed underpants. One Last Dance is charming and touching. That the main characters are willful and stubborn does little to diminish their appeal.”
-Barbara McIntyre, Akron Beacon-Journal
"It's been a long time since I have enjoyed a novel as much as I did Mardo Williams' One Last Dance. Sure, it's about an 89-year-old man, and a 79-year old woman, Morgan and Dixie. So what? Not sexy enough? Want to bet? It's full of wit, wisdom, lust and love. It's also as real as life itself, and a guide for anyone who hopes to live as long as its main characters. It also delivers a compelling insight to what's it is like to see your body grow old while your brain grows younger every day. The author began the novel at age 92. So three cheers for One Last Dance."
-Alice Hornbaker, journalist, author, over-the-hill disc jockey at WMKV 89.3 FM and www.wmkvfm.org
"Mardo Williams, along with his daughters Kay and Jerri, have left the world an amazing story of love and passion that rivals classics like Pride and Prejudice, and Wuthering Heights. One Last Dance takes us into the lives of Morgan and Dixie and we get to share their tumultuous meeting, their courtship and their love. It was a wonderful journey that showed me not only the youth and ardor of our elderly, but the all too real pitfalls of growing old. Not only are the main characters complex and full of history, but also the secondary characters emerge as equally multifaceted and charming, each one growing and learning. …this book should be read by anyone who has ever loved or hopes to love. It is a journey that your heart and soul will never forget."
-Shannon Dearing, The Big Blend Review
"I must say I was taken by the immediacy of the story and the pull and tug on my heart. My sister and mother each had a turn with [the book] and enjoyed every minute. Your father had a good eye for a story! What fun for the two of you to bring [One Last Dance] to fruition."
-Merle Grace Kearns, Director, Ohio Department of Aging
"This is a book that stays with you! One of my absolute favorites, started by Mr. Williams when he was 92 years old. No stereotypical old folks here--real people who will touch your heart. I'm hoping for a movie (maybe Jack Nicholson and Shirley Maclaine?). Don't miss this book!"
-Nancy Kenish, Nancy’s Book Nook
"This book is filled, no, it's overflowing, with humor, causing my lips to rise up at the corners starting with the very first sentence. It's also packed with emotion and revealing surprises, and leaves the reader feeling as if they know Dixie and Morgan. One Last Dance gave me a new respect for love and aging -- gracefully or otherwise. It is a masterpiece!" -Sue Vogan, Writer & Author of NCO-No Compassion Observed, for BookPleasures.com
“I loved it. The intrigue added by Morgan’s questionable past and the suspense created by the vengeful stranger made me keep reading. One Last Dance also captures young people at risk while demonstrating that with help, caring, and luck, they don't have to become throw away kids. It’s really a book for all ages. A fast, interesting read.”
-Leslie Snyder, A master English teacher and Hall of Fame inductee, Worthington Kilbourne High School
“A sweepingly elegant romance, One Last Dance celebrates the importance of living in the moment and never giving up in the search for love. Emotion and hope surge from the pages, in this novel that leaves the reader feeling invigorated and enthusiastic about life.”
-Midwest Book Review
“His final deadline came too soon, but Mardo Williams made sure his novel had a happy ending. One Last Dance, a wry, Columbus-based novel about late-in-life romance… includes conflict, mystery, and scandal. His newspaper-writing style is concise, heavy on dialogue, and leavened with humor.”
-Mark Ellis, Columbus Dispatch
“One Last Dance is a lovely story that at times is very touching and at other times very funny. Dixie and Morgan share their more intimate thoughts and concerns [giving the reader]… a unique insight into the lives of older folks. If we were rating this book on a scale of 1-10, we would give it a 10+. We loved it.”
-Betty Stumbo, Ontario Tribune-Courier
“Harlequin romance comes of age! Anyone under the age of 60 who believes romance is not alive at 80 should read One Last Dance. The Williamses introduce us to Morgan, a handsome curmudgeon, still running from his past, and Dixie, a lovely social butterfly, who is still grieving hers. Their disastrous meeting started with smeared cake frosting and developed into a moving tribute that love conquers all pain. Williams and his daughters have achieved a thing of beauty. Do yourself a favor, snuggle up in a chair and enjoy this magnificent hallmark of senior romance."
-Debra Kiefat, ArmchairInterviews.com
"One Last Dance is delightful reading. It has humor, suspense, romance, complexity of character, regrets, yearning and hope. I repeatedly loaned my copy, gave others as gifts to friends, and recommended it to everyone. We are all looking ahead or have already achieved the age of the lead characters, Morgan, age 89, and Dixie, age 79. The author’s age of 92 when he wrote One Last Dance is in itself an inspiration but more importantly it lends authenticity to the story. The fictional account makes it clear there's more to look forward to but the golden years have as many complexities as those years that preceded them.”
-Sara Burneson, retired educator
“One Last Dance is a fun book and so true. It correctly highlights some of the medical, financial and social struggles senior citizens face today.”
-Brenda Donegan, The Marion Star
"[The couple's] mysterious pasts, and the appearance of a threatening stranger, added tension that fueled my late night page turning. I especially liked the way the relationship with the 'lost' grandson evolved. Not only did he save their lives, but he brought to Morgan and Dixie the love and pride they'd lost many decades earlier with the loss of their children. Williams weaves enough wit, charm, and emotion to make the reader care about and root for these characters. With broad appeal, this is an engaging, suspenseful, and energizing read!"
-Sharon White, grandmother
"I loved it. What a delightful book--touching, funny, and so very real. There's something in there for readers of all ages."
-Barbara Brett, author, Between Two Eternities
“One Last Dance is a must-read.”
-Vicki Pribbenow, Activities Director, The Village at Westerville Retirement Center
"The secret to eternal youth - as One Last Dance shows with eloquence, grace, and unsentimental wit - isn't exercise or Lipitor but falling in love - and it's never too late."
-Ralph Gardner, Jr., The New York Observer
"As a teacher of American Culture (to international students), I'm seriously considering adding One Last Dance to my reading list. Not only would my students meet older Americans who are interested, very interested, in doing more than babysitting the grandkids, but they would come face to face with the realities of aging in America, and that it ain't for sissies. The novel's central characters, Dixie at 79 and Morgan at 89, have led real lives, filled with joys, regrets, and missed opportunities. But, unlike most of us, they are brave enough to take one final plunge together, baggage and all, into life's deep waters. One Last Dance is full of nicely placed leaps and splashes, such as the subplot about a troubled young man, Tony, whose own reckless trajectory is about to collide with the daring course set by the lovers. The impact reminds us that the consequences of our decisions, regardless of when we make them, catch up with us, and our best choice is to grab the tail of the comet and hang on for dear life."
-Lynn Leonard, Idaho state University
"Loved the book! The characters are fun and true, the events are real and often scary, and the humor is lovely - very heartland, very human. It's a wise, real, good-humored book."
-PM Carlson, author of Deathwind
"I fell in love with Dixie and Morgan from the start. Feisty and set in their ways, they made me want to keep reading."
-Gretchen Saenger, social worker
"One Last Dance is a rollicking good read. In the portraits of Dixie and Morgan, readers of a certain age will recognize picture-perfect portraits of themselves-and find it difficult not to laugh. At the same time, this very well written novel provides younger readers with a real insight into why "seniors" think and act as they do. This is one of those rare books which truly brings the generations together."
-Albert Ashforth, author & professor, English department, Fashion Institute of Technology
"One Last Dance is charming and so funny. By the end of the book, I felt as if Dixie and Morgan were my friends. I even grew to like Tony, who starts as a real loser. The juxtaposition of Tony's story with Morgan's and Dixie's is quite effective in increasing readers' interest. The hints and revelations of pieces of Morgan's and Dixie's and Tony's past create suspense and tension; the clues, inserted naturally and believably, bring more and more questions to mind. The character development is excellent, from Morgan and Dixie's [initial] clashes to the mellowing of their sharp edges to love and understanding. The humor is quite delightful. The wiping up of wine with Dixie's panties as the neighbor watches is laugh-out-loud funny. But One Last Dance is not just charm with no substance. There are serious topics to be discussed by Book Discussion Groups: the dilemma of deciding when to go into a retirement center; the difference between the happy, happy sales pitch of the center and the underlying, overwhelming truth of loneliness, depression, dependency, and dementia of the inmates; the importance of family and family ties in living a rich, fulfilling life and its influence on teenagers. The point of view changes smoothly from omniscient to Morgan's thoughts to Dixie's to Tony's. I was relieved to find the end so uplifting and hopeful, filled with joy and peace, after the accident."
-Mara Stark, retired high school English teacher, Columbus, Ohio
"I really enjoyed One Last Dance. My 92-year-old dad lives with us. The book gave me insight into how he thinks. (Some of the hospital events were very relevant.) It's a lovely book!"
-Susan Cane, freelance copy editor
“One Last Dance is special. I have known Dixies in my life and [the author] captures them exactly. He zeroes in on the pitfalls of ageing but also writes about the nice parts like mellowing. I also like how he nicely contrasts the attitudes of two generations once removed. And I kept thinking of the amazing story of his writing the book at 94/95…I have to admit that I got weepy more times than I like to think about while reading it.”
-Edward Fries, president, OmniTech Works
“One Last Dance is not only fun to read and entertaining, but it also validates the feelings and emotions, the trials and triumphs of being a senior in today’s world. Seniors can relate to the story and the younger generation gains understanding of their elders. Great reading! I love it.
-Gisella Slayman, Activities Director, Kensington Place Retirement Center
"Just wanted to let you know how much I loved One Last Dance by Mardo Williams. I loved the positive message in the book and I loved the fact that Mr. Williams was 92 when he wrote it. It has given me more encouragement in my own life to know that there are always possibilities out there for us. My father turns 83 today and I’m giving him the book as a gift. I’m hoping that it may bring a little romance back into his and my mother’s lives. Maybe bring back fond memories and give them some laughs, too. Thank you to Mr. Williams for a wonderful story. Thanks to his daughters for seeing it through." -Jan M. Baumer-Kendrick, Office Manager
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Maude (1883-1993): She Grew Up With the Country
Great-Grandpa Fussy and the Little Puckerdoodles
Butcher Of Dreams
The Five O’Clock Follies