Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Book Review: The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin

The Last Romantics


When the renowned poet Fiona Skinner is asked about the inspiration behind her iconic work, The Love Poem, she tells her audience a story about her family and a betrayal that reverberates through time. 
It begins in a big yellow house with a funeral, an iron poker, and a brief variation forever known as the Pause: a free and feral summer in a middle-class Connecticut town. Caught between the predictable life they once led and an uncertain future that stretches before them, the Skinner siblings—fierce Renee, sensitive Caroline, golden boy Joe and watchful Fiona—emerge from the Pause staunchly loyal and deeply connected.  Two decades later, the siblings find themselves once again confronted with a family crisis that tests the strength of these bonds and forces them to question the life choices they’ve made and ask what, exactly, they will do for love. 
I discovered this one through Modern Mrs. Darcy's Summer Reading Guide, which I highly recommend you check out if you're looking for a good summer read. I spent the first half of the year in a pretty serious book slump, and reading through the Summer Reading Guide list has gotten me back on track with some really enjoyable fiction reads.

Writing
Beautifully done. I'm typically a plot-driven reader, but after reading one like this with amazing characterization, I'm wondering if I had just been choosing the wrong books. Between this one and Pillars of the Earth, I am becoming more and more convinced that character-driven could also be for me. These characters are stunningly drawn and I cared deeply about each of them, despite their flaws.

Entertainment Value
There is a plot to follow here, despite the character-driven nature of the story, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Anything about siblings appeals to me, probably because I adore my own siblings so much. These siblings are so relatable in their messiness, fights, and ultimate love for each other.

Overall
This one is definitely a must read for the summer. The significance of The Pause for the characters and the summertime setting of The Pause serve to make the books truly atmospheric, particularly on a hot summer day.

Thanks to my local library for providing me with a copy of this one.

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