Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Julie's Review: The Last Romantics



Author: Tara Conklin
Series: None
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 368
Obtained: publisher via Edelweiss
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: A deep and emotional family saga
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: 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. A sweeping yet intimate epic about one American family, The Last Romantics is an unforgettable exploration of the ties that bind us together, the responsibilities we embrace and the duties we resent, and how we can lose—and sometimes rescue—the ones we love. A novel that pierces the heart and lingers in the mind, it is also a beautiful meditation on the power of stories—how they navigate us through difficult times, help us understand the past, and point the way toward our future. ~amazon.com

Review: If you read any book in 2019, you need to read The Last Romantics. This is a gorgeous story about love, family, forgiveness and hope. We are introduced to the Skinner clan when the youngest and most famous, Fiona, is giving a speech in 2079 where's she's asked about a specific name/character in her most famous poem. This is the reason for her this talk at the age of 102, is to finally reveal the story behind the poem. Through flashbacks we learn about Fiona, Renee, Caroline and Joe and their unusual childhood.

There a few years after the death of their father know as The Pause, that completely shapes how the Skinner kids will be as adults. Each of them has a specific role within the family and with each other. It shapes their interactions as kids and then as adults. Fiona is in awe of all of them for different reasons.

While I would say that their mother has some influence on them it was really their impact on each other that told the story. This is a story about family but more importantly it is a story about siblings and the roles we all play with each other.

There are many factors that drew me into the novel. First, the writing is absolutely gorgeous. The words transport you to the Skinner's past and present. You know that the world has changed but you aren't quite sure the impact of that on the story or what it means for Fiona. Secondly, each character is rich and vibrant, so distinctly different from each other. Third, it evokes intense emotions. Lastly, these siblings will stay with me long after I have turned that last page.

This book reminded me of a favorite from 2018, The Immortalists, but the journey is different. I really can't recommend this one enough.


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