The Last Summer – Judith Kinghorn

This is simply a love story. It is a story of a love between two people Clarissa and Tom, one a lady with all the privileges, the other a young man with ideas but no standing and no money. Their love others will frown upon. But not only is a class divided, there is something else which will divide them all – War. A division across the world.

And so through Clarissa’s recollections we will follow everything about this tender love affair. War exacerbates some situations, love and grief become muddled. War changes everything; people, relationships and even homes. War also ends some things. Through it all the love between Clarissa and Tom never falters but love is sometimes never easy.

This is a beautifully written gentle story and one where you really do not know where it is going to take you. There are surprises along the way and although it is set nearly 100 years ago,  topics resonate in today’s society. Whilst modern day readers might find it frustrating at the problems the two main protagonists face, it is a reminder of how much society has changed. This novel evokes much about the feelings of those of left behind in war, as well as the following years.

I immediately fell in love with Clarissa and Tom’s romance, and although I hoped and probably knew that the inevitable was going to happen, how we got there was actually rather surprising and made the story that much deeper and stronger. The excerpts of letters throughout the novel, built on the story and added to the mystery only by reaching the end do all the pieces come together.

So much could actually be said about this novel and I would want to share, but to do so would simply ruin it for others. An excellent debut novel and an author I shall certainly be looking out for again.

How can you explain in words how a book which was slow but wanted to keep you turning the pages as you had to find out how it all ended. If I would say to anyone that this book is slow I think their immediate reaction would be “not for me then” but it is not slow in a bad way. It is slow in a marvellous romantic way which adds to the relationship between the two main characters. I thought at many points, this is where it will turn, everything will come together and then we will see the future. Sadly that was not the case, and moments lost to the heart eat away until the next time there is a meeting of lost loves. 

Many reviews have said this is an ideal book if you are a fan of Downton Abbey (of which I am) but I feel this is a completely unnecessary connotation and to be honest I am getting rather tired of using this as a selling point. If you love history, social change, social and class divides, romance and good strong characters you can believe in then – this is a book I think you would enjoy. 

Please note that the image I have used for this book, is the cover of the proof copy that I received for review (via Amazon Vine) and I actually prefer this to the copy that is currently on display in bookshops.