The Last Summer MOBI í The Last MOBI :Ê

The Last Summer ➽ [Reading] ➿ The Last Summer By Judith Kinghorn ➲ – Clarissa is almost seventeen when the spell of her childhood is broken It is 1914 the beginning of a blissful golden summer and the end of an era Deyning Park is in its heyday the large country house Clarissa is almost seventeen when the spell of her childhood is broken It is the beginning of a blissful golden summer and The Last MOBI :Ê the end of an era Deyning Park is in its heyday the large country house filled with the laughter and excitement of privileged youth preparing for a weekend party When Clarissa meets Tom Cuthbert home from university and staying with his mother the housekeeper she is dazzled Tom is handsome and enigmatic; he is also an outsider Ambitious clever his sights set on a career in law Tom is an acute observer and a man who knows what he wants For now that is ClarissaAs Tom and Clarissa's friendship deepens the wider landscape of political life around them is changing and another story unfolds they are not the only people in love Soon the world and all that they know is rocked by a war that changes their lives for ever.

10 thoughts on “The Last Summer

  1. Richard Pierce Richard Pierce says:

    I am not one of those reviewers who can or wants to recount the plot of the book under review I react viscerally to what I read and my reviews always reflect thisThis is the kind of book you can disappear into The voice is pitch perfect for me and drew me into a different era And there's an edge to the gentle voice of the early 20th century an edge which as far as I'm concerned declared its hatred of war and not just because the war causes the narrator pain but because war is evil full stop regardless of whose side you're onI read this in three days and really enjoyed it The narrative flowed and the dialogue was on the whole good There are minor nitpicks that I as a writer could point out but they're insignificant This is a very good bookClarissa the main character is a woman struggling against the manacles of convention and class She embodies a striving for real independence a struggle which is as relevant now as it was then I was going to title this review an anti war feminist romance but the word feminist is open to too many misinterpretations For me feminism means women being on eual terms with men as far as human rights pay and conditions etc etc are concerned and in that context this is a feminist romance Every human needs fulfilment in love and that doesn't make them weak Whether or not Clarissa finds fulfilment I won't tell you You'll have to read the book to find out

  2. Kayse Kayse says:

    What a colossal disappointment was The Last Summer Nothing about it I could like—aside from the gorgeous cover with its vibrant colors striking country manor and beautiful Edwardian woman whose chin looks vaguely like that of Sybil Crawley from Downton Abbey Damn my penchant for going against the idiom and judging a book by its coverThis story is the impossible and I hesitate to say “love story” because I found nothing romantic about it affair between Clarissa Granville and Tom Cuthbert Clarissa is the sickeningly sweet irritatingly insipid and impossibly naïve daughter of the house The Granvilles consisting of Mr and Mrs Granville the three older sons with their bland English king names and of course Clarissa of the exotic moniker are not a noble family but they have a respectable fortune and a good family name and purchased the house Deyning Park from the impoverished Old EarlTom is the housekeeper’s son of unknown paternity whose “unidentified benefactor” à la Great Expectations is paying for his tuition at Oxford so that the boy may rise above his humble origins Predictably Tom’s unknown father unidentified benefactor and the Old Earl are all one and the same Apparently Mrs Cuthbert’s One True Love was her former employer rather like Samuel Richardson’s Pamela but hopefully much less rape yWe’re first introduced to the fabulously sexyintelligentwhatever Tom who personally I found to be just as bland as his name when his mother informs Clarissa of his presence at Deyning Park as a guestfriend of her brothers But to instantly set precious Tom apart from Clarissa’s spoiled overly immature brothers particularly her brother Henry the author has Mrs Cuthbert declare like some sort of demented oracle or a nepotistic Greek chorus “He’s not like your brothers he’s a gentle soul” She does that not once but twice Really? Judith Kinghorn could you please be a little less obvious when you're trying to establish the hero's traits? 'Kay thanksThe subseuent “Hello” and “Pleased to meet you” usher in what the author would have us believe to be the Love Story To End All Love Stories I mean all it takes is exchanging vague pleasantries on page 5 for Clarissa to become obsessed with him on page 8 And it only takes till page 22 maybe their third meeting? till she’s thinking “Kiss me kiss me now” in his presence She’s got the hots for him guys And not only that but their initial brief exchange has Clarissa go through some sort of Kate Chopin ish awakening and makes her reevaluate her entire existence and see her family “as Tom Cuthbert saw us” And a lot of good that revelation does her because she really doesn’t change her selfish ways For example for approximately three uarters of the Great War Clarissa does nothing for the war effort—aside from marrying some guy she doesn’t love to “keep his spirits up” Um what?I’m not really sure why this book was entitled ”The Last Summer” Based on the title I assumed the novel was chiefly about the summer of 1914 and perhaps into the war but it was barely about that summer Clarissa talks about it being “the beginning of summer” but it’s actually July at the novel’s start a full month into that season And Britain entered World War I on August third So that “last perfect summer” before the war that sparked such a passion lasted barely a month What false advertising Or false “blurb on the back” ingAnyway I couldn’t believe in the love between Clarissa and Tom They had such a brief acuaintance during that summer despite their handful of “secret tête à têtes” and yes they had a mutual childhood and child ish crush but I can’t see how that could fuel an affair that spans the next 16 years They had nothing in common She was a very childish indulged teenager and he had the overt aura of wise beyond his years that the author tacked on himWhen Tom first goes off to war Clarissa pledges to be true and creepily promises that “her body” belongs to him Why was this mentioned? I don’t want to know But when he’s gone and it seems like he’s forgotten her she gets engaged Then he comes back with a girlfriend but they’re still in love Then he goes away and she plans her wedding Then he comes back and they’re still in love and he knocks her up Then he goes away she gives away the kid begrudgingly but she still does and gets married Then he comes back and they’re still in love Then he goes away and she hears about how he drunkenly made out with her friend Then he comes back and they’re still in love The whole story was this ridiculous back and forth of him coming back and their realization that they’re still in love yet they do nothing about it Clarissa—empower yourself woman Don’t be a pawn And Tom—grow a pair Why are you still dangling after this twit who does nothing but make promises and then lets you down? Their entire relationship was MESSED UP After being led on and let down so many times Tom finally jumps on board the crazy train and strings along multiple fiancées all while knocking boots with Clarissa any chance he gets Meanwhile as a married woman who’s carrying on with an engaged man Clarissa can’t shut up about her mother and if “mama found out” or some suchClarissa was one of the least likeable heroines that I’ve read about in some time At the beginning she’s depicted as being absurdly innocent—so innocent in fact that she accidentally reads aloud from a pornographic novel Fanny Hill to Tom and doesn’t realize what it is She even goes on to admit that she didn’t know she had read about “a grisly murder” or “some other act of wickedness” WHAT IS THIS FUCKERY? Was this meant to be a charming scene? Was it cute or something? “Oh look how sweet and naïve little Clarissa is—how could you not love her?” I don’t get it It was so bizarre and so so stupid Anyway Clarissa never seems go grow out of her childhood naïveté—she has the mentality of a sixteen year old all the way through the novel’s course—except at the end she likes sex Like a lot Plus she’s super depressed But always childishThe other thing I hated about Clarissa was that she was worse than helpless It was like she was adrift in the sea and wherever the tide took her there she allowed herself to go She was persuadable than Anne Elliot and she never learned her lesson either Whoever was nearest to her at the moment she allowed to make her life’s decisions for her—be it getting engaged having sex giving up her child for adoption getting married or shooting up on morphine I’m not even joking about that part She was a creature of the moment never thinking of a plan for the futureTom I found to be a pompous asshole He wasn’t overly intriguing at the beginning of the story—I guess he was just novel to Clarissa because he was from a different social class I didn’t like the way he treated women—particularly his poor fiancées Maybe he deserved moronic Clarissa after allI made it to about page 200 before I realized that this book wasn’t going to get any better so I did some super skimming Even skimming I noticed that this book heavily borrowed the plot devices of many other better books Here are a few I noticed1 Clarissa twists her ankle while frolicking in the meadow and must be carried back to the house by Tom much how Marianne Dashwood was carried by Willoughby after a similar accident in Sense and Sensibility2 Tom’s wartime letters to Clarissa were intercepted by her disapproving mother and hidden from her for years just like Noah Calhoun’s letters to Allie Hamilton in the Notebook3 Tom buys the childhood home of his true love after he’s made his fortune after the war and Clarissa’s family has lost theirs Kind of like how the newly wealthy Captain Wentworth lets and lives in Anne Elliot’s home after her family becomes impoverished in Persuasion4 Noble Tom saves Clarissa’s troublesome sibling from devastation but wants his service kept secret from her Doesn’t that bring to mind how in Pride and Prejudice Mr Darcy saves Lydia from utter ruination but asks her to keep it a secret from Elizabeth? Huh5 Even a specific scene from the Great Gatsby was ganked After GatsbyTom has made his fortune after the Great War DaisyClarissa is wandering through his bedroom in his newly acuired mansion marveling at what her life could have been like if she had stuck it out followed her heart and not married Tom BuchananCharlie and she “bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily”“buried her face in white linen” Hoo boyIt even reminded me of places of Downton Abbey which maybe is what the author was going for considering she published this her first novel when that show is still so popular I’m not even referring to the upstairsdownstairs romance with a character named TOM although that was there but the fact that the Granvilles like the Crawleys made some bad wartime investments and nearly lose their manor house The Granvilles eventually do have to sell Deyning Park after some valiant efforts to save the placeOne last complaint—what was with those stupid anonymous letters at the beginning and end of each chapter? I eventually skipped right over them because they were so indecipherable—what with the non use of names and references to events I hadn't seen I didn't find them interesting and I didn't find it so earth shattering like I think the author wanted us to find it when it was revealed that they were love letters between Mrs Granville and her gardener loverIf I could give fewer than one star to this book I would I hated it as passionately as most of these other reviewers seemed to love it

  3. Marguerite Kaye Marguerite Kaye says:

    Oh dear another one that just wasn't for me I'm having a run on them Occassionally when someone reviews one of my books they say they couldn't get into it because they just didn't like the heroine I get that It's the same for me if I don't like a key character I find it very difficult to see past that and enjoy any other aspect of the book And that's what happened with this one Clarissa is the narrator and the 16 year old girl at the start of the book who has lived a privileged life at Deyning Park And then she falls in love with the housekeeper's son Total no no for Clarissa is expected to make a great marriage Once I got over the first person narrative at least I got over it at first until I began to loathe and detest Clarissa I thought the prose in the early part of this book was evocative and I enjoyed it The author painted a lovely picture of that last summer before the Great War and imbued it with that terrible sense of an era about to die But the big problem was the person I most wanted to die was Clarissa Here's why Spoilers She loved Tom She was happy to hang about with Tom and to kiss him provided no one else knew She was happy to carry on living her so privileged life and keep him for fun in the background When he went off to war with her brothers she was happy to write to him provided it was all a secret But while he was at the front she was eually happy living the life of a deb in London and didn't seem too bothered by the fact he'd stopped writing to her Though she still claimed she loved him And when it turned out what a surprise that he was writing but her Mama was confiscating the letters does she confront Mama? Nope When she finally sleeps with Tom on his leave and gets pregnant does she fight for the baby or even tell Tom? Nope she gives the baby away and gets married to Mama's choice of man And then for the next 10 years or so she messes with Tom's head sleeps with him every now and then but still goes on and on and on about how impossible it all is And I just couldn't see why And even importantly I couldn't understand why Tom put up with the spoilt brat whose only uality seemed to be her famed beauty I was praying that she wouldn't get him in the end and resigned but gutted when she did I am sure there are loads of redeeming things about this book that others will like but Clarissa blinded me to them I just couldn't stand her

  4. Jane Jane says:

    It was the voice that captured me first a wonderfully human mix of intelligence vulnerability understanding and fallibility “I was almost seventeen when the spell of my childhood was broken There was no sudden jolt no immediate awakening and no alteration as far as I’m aware in the earth’s axis that day But the vibration of change was upon us and I sensed a shift; a realignment of my trajectory It was the beginning of summer and unbeknown to any of us then the end of a belle époue” Clarissa told her own story and from the very beginning I could hear her voice and she drew me into her world completely She was seventeen when we met at her parents’ country estate I could see the house the grounds – the flowers especially – and I understood that Clarissa and her three elder brothers had enjoyed a wonderful childhood When Clarissa fell in love with Tom Cuthbert the housekeeper’s son I knew that their future would not be assured They knew that Clarissa’s parents would not approve of their relationship And that was not the only obstacle the year was 1914 and the Great War would change the world that Clarissa had known changed forever So much happened as the years passed Clarissa grew from a society debutante into a mature woman Her love for Tom was the only constant but whenever fate brought them together it swiftly pulled tham apart again And the Great War had many lasting conseuences on lives and on society Through it all Clarissa’s voice remained true and I went through so many emotions saw so many changes with her Judith Kinghorn has created a wonderful heroine and plotted her story so very very cleverly I knew where I wanted her story to go but I never knew uite if it would how it would She says much about conseuences of war and the social upheaval of the twenties and thirties simply by having Clarissa tell her story That’s clever writing And it’s beautiful writing too Writing to transport you into Clarissa’s world and so see people places events through her eyes Every detail was right every note rang true I’m tempted to share details but I’m not going to if you want to know you really should pick up the book meet Clarissa and learn those details from her I’m so glad that I did

  5. Anna Anna says:

    First loves class divides enforced separations stolen moments the horrors of war wrong choices conseuences heartbreak tragedy hope; a touching and absorbing story albeit rather melodramatic and repetitive in places set before during and after WW1 where at times I wanted to shake some sense into the Clarissa and Tom and at others needed the tissues to dry my eyes

  6. Joana Joana says:

    Absolutely beautiful bookRomantic tragic extremely compelling It's wonderfully written the descriptions are so rich it was just as though I was seeing a film at times It's hard to stop reading and it will stay with me long after I've finished itI read the audiobook version and I was completely blown away by Jane Wymark's incredible narration She did a fantastic job I believed the narration 100 per centBy far the best audiobook I ever heard

  7. MaryannC. Book Freak MaryannC. Book Freak says:

    OH I LOVED THIS It was lovely sad touching romantic it was all these things and For me this was one of those books I like to get lost in and not come out of my room if I can help it This earns a place among my favorites

  8. Holly Holly says:

    Put simply I was completely captivated lost within this novel As it should be

  9. Deborah Swift Deborah Swift says:

    The Last Summer is set during the beginnings of World War I and tells the story of Clarissa who loses her luxurious lifestyle and her home during the bookImpeccably written and well researched this is an atmospheric and haunting read It takes the reader from languorous summer days by the lake on a country estate to the horror of the trenches with eual aplombThe love story at its heart unfolds over sixteen years or so so this is no flash in the pan romance but the real thing Judith Kinghorn skilfully navigates our journey through love and loss and despite the fact the reader knows that Clarissa and Tom must somehow find the inevitable happy ending the tension is nicely built through all the different episodesPart of the story unfolds through letters which hold a secret not revealed until the endThe social and historical background feels real Clarissa's journey from society debutante to independent woman who wants to work for herself must be the journey many women took in this period and the book highlights this nicely The back of the novel says it was the end of a belle epoue and Clarissa senses this before it is made real to her through the events in the story People have likened this book to Downton Abbey but it is not uite as cosy Death and duty are here too and the stifling repression of the moneyed classesThis is a perfect balance of romance and grit by a great new writer Don't miss it

  10. Katherine Gypson Katherine Gypson says:

    I don't even know where to begin with this review I've never shied away from writing my true feelings about a book on this blog I try to be respectful to authors and find the good in a book but there's also not much of a point in a book review blog if I censored myself and only wrote reviews of the books I liked With that disclaimer I have to say that Summer will definitely be among my most disappointing reads of 2013 I actually stayed away from the book for awhile I was a bit put off by the fluffy description But I also know from experience that a lot of good historical fiction gets saddled with some pretty ridiculous jacket copy and even worse cover art I had a similar experience earlier this year with Phillip Rock's Passing Bells trilogy which turned out to be enormously enjoyable and well written novels Swayed by glowing reviews over on Goodreads I waited until the used paperback price dropped on and then picked it up as a treat The first half of the book is much better than the second half and I actually enjoyed reading it There are some lovely atmospheric if occasionally overdone descriptions of life on a country estate just before the outbreak of World War One and then of London during the early years of the war Clarissa is convincingly drawn as a naïve dreamy girl who realizes all too late the implications far off political events will have on her world Her growing attachment to the housekeeper's son is sweet and truly affecting despite the obvious clichés All of this would make for a passable novel a kind of English Gone With The Wind But then the war ends and the second half of the book descends into a horrible mish mash of over written romance novel seemingly crossed with a pastiche of The Great Gatsby People engage in epic misunderstandings and talk often of forces beyond their control although these circumstances are never clearly spelled out and seemed to occur so that the plot can go on and on while characters indulge in heated glances across the room at parties This doesn't just happen once but again and again for about two hundred pages Kinghorn chose a first person narrative that results in Clarissa telling us how and why things happen rather than the reader getting to see and experience it through well crafted scenes But this does mean that the narrative speeds along at a uicker pace and I was able to finish the book and get it out of my way within a day It was a relief to reach the completely predictable ending There are times when I can tell I might have liked a book if I had encountered it in a different mood or I can see that the author tried something that didn't uite work Unfortunately this was not one of those cases

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