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The Last Summer

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  1,933 Ratings  ·  297 Reviews
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 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 m ...more
Paperback, 433 pages
Published December 31st 2012 by NAL/Penguin USA (first published February 1st 2012)
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Downton Abbey-esque Books
21st out of 531 books — 913 voters
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World War 1 Fiction
3rd out of 173 books — 31 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Richard Pierce
Oct 10, 2012 Richard Pierce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 this.

This 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
Marguerite Kaye
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
First loves, class divides, enforced separations, stolen moments, the horrors of war, wrong choices, consequences, 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.

Jun 11, 2014 Kayse rated it did not like it
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 cover!

This 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
Jan 31, 2012 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 époque.
Katherine Gypson
Aug 11, 2013 Katherine Gypson rated it it was ok
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
Sep 08, 2012 Devil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely beautiful book.
Romantic, 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 it.

I 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 cent.
By far, the best audiobook I ever heard.

Anna Casanovas
Apr 17, 2014 Anna Casanovas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una narración muy cuidada con una voz clara y elegante. La historia de un amor que empieza en un verano casi irreal y que sobrevive a la guerra y al paso del tiempo. Hay momentos difíciles, y me habría gustado conocer mejor los sentimientos de Tom, pero me ha mantenido pegada a sus páginas hasta el final. Como curiosidad diría que mientras la leía no podía evitar pensar en Downton Abbey, aunque en realidad no tienen ninguna relación.
Feb 14, 2015 Angie rated it really liked it
Tragically beautiful! That pretty much sums up this book:) The ending brought some happiness to our characters, but a lot of this story was steeped in tragedies. I thought it was a very realistic look at the class distinctions and prejudices of time and how that changed after the war.
Oct 06, 2015 Angigames rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Clarissa Granville ha passato tutta la sua breve esistenza a Deyning Park, la residenza estiva della famiglia Granville. Essendo l’unica femmina di quattro figli, Clarissa è cresciuta in una campana di vetro, conosce solo la villa dov’è nata e ha passato l’infanzia nei campi della tenuta, nei suoi roseti, nei giardini e in riva al lago. Ma nell’estate dei sui sedici anni la dolce e ingenua Clarissa conoscerà la persona che gli ruberà il cuore per sempre: Tom Cuthbert, il figlio della governante ...more
Lindsay Williams
Jul 13, 2013 Lindsay Williams rated it did not like it
This is the book that makes you furious you're the type of reader who sees every book to the end! It started well enough, with a Downton Abbey feel to the illicit love between society girl and housekeeper's son at a grand estate just months before the Great War. Seemed like a nice summer pool read.

But the "cycle" of the book after that beginning lost my interest completely. The two come together every few months, sleep together, and then for "circumstances beyond control," they part. It always s
I neither like nor dislike this book. To be honest there were good and bad parts that made it end up just an okay novel, nothing overly special unfortunately.

The first eight chapters were enjoyable. I liked the naivety of Clarissa, and her unwavering certainty that nothing could spoil the idyllic world she lived in. This showed a clear innocence of the era that we do not posses in todays society. The author did a good job of describing the quintessential, traditional English house that I'm sure
Deborah Swift
Feb 16, 2012 Deborah Swift rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 book.Impeccably 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 equal aplomb.

The 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 Kinghor
Jan 17, 2013 Lindsey rated it it was amazing
So amazingly wonderful. Completely absorbing, I felt myself to be a minor character weaving in and around the others as the story continued. I attended the parties, tasted the champagne, felt the sky around me, and danced away with the others. After I finished, I spent a good amount of time going back through and revisiting certain parts; as though with the wisdom of the way the story would end, I could better understand the many things that brought the characters to that point. Brilliantly writ ...more
The writing in this novel is really quite lovely. The author evocatively relayed the moods of pre-WWI, WWI, and post-WWI England. Clarissa's change from a naive girl reading Fanny Hill to a lost soul during the war and finally to a driven woman was well done, and the romance was engaging even if it was frustrating at times and a bit on the drawn-out side.
MaryannC.Book Fiend
OH!! I LOVED THIS!!! It was lovely, sad, touching, romantic, it was all these things and more! 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!!!
Jul 29, 2014 Holly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Put simply: I was completely captivated & lost within this novel. As it should be.
Anne OK
Feb 11, 2016 Anne OK rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reads
I really don’t know quite how to review this piece of fiction. For me, the impact was more a mixture of the good, bad and ugly -- some of it bordering on the ridiculous. Too many passages jumped out and screamed “very familiar” reminders of books past, or perhaps of the popular present day television series Downton Abbey. I’ll preface my review by saying that it is spoiler-free. You’ll get no story details – only my reactions to the reading experience. The rest is up to you.

For some unknown rea
Aug 26, 2014 Cristina rated it it was ok
Este es uno de esos casos en los que la sinopsis y la portada me engancharon. Sin embargo también es uno de esos casos en los que ni el envoltorio ni el contenido suscitaron emociones. En otras palabras: una colosal decepción si tenemos en cuenta de que este libro nos lo venden “si nos ha gustado la serie de Downton Abbey”. Entonces si nos fijamos bien en la portada (versión inglesa) reconoceremos a una mujer cuya barbilla y perfil son muy parecidos a Sybil Crawley. ¿Coincidencias? No lo creo, p ...more
✝✝ Ⓓaisy ❣ Hearts Cole, Lucas, Jesse  & James ✝✝


Gosh, I can't imagine what Tom and Clarrissa need to go thru in order to be together...Full of drama, happiness even sadness during war times. The story is beautifully written. They love each other and yet they are apart! One moving and powerful novel. Finally, when they found each other, I totally cried!!!!!

Love can make us go bonkers! This book has it all emotions - heartbreaking, painful, sacrifice, weakness, vanity, tragedy and love!

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Ann Burt
Apr 06, 2013 Ann Burt rated it it was ok
The main character in the story is completely devoid of any moral fiber. She has absolutely no rules or boundaries in her life. She is either "told" what to do by her mother, her husband or her lover. I did NOT like this book. Waste of time...I so hate that.
Kimberly Sullivan
I enjoyed this atmospheric story, a coming-of-age tale that begins on an idyllic English country estate in the summer of 1914, before the outbreak of World War I.

In the first pages we meet naive, impressionable Clarissa, from a well-off family. Clarissa is about to turn 17 when she meets Tom Cuthbert, the son of their housekeeper. Tom is handsome and intelligent. Home from Oxford for the holidays, he joins the wealthy, young crowd that gathers at Clarissa’s home – but it is clear he is not one o
Jul 01, 2015 Dana rated it it was amazing
The Last Summer used that enchanting period before England entered World War I as the backdrop for a fantastic love story. This was not a cheesy romance, but a deep and moving love worthy of being compared to The Notebook. Clarissa was content with the idyllic surroundings of her family's estate, coming out parties, and proper society until she met her housekeeper's son, Tom. Tom was a student of law at university, which made Clarissa see him as a suitor rather than someone "in service" and bene ...more
Violet wells
Dec 12, 2014 Violet wells rated it really liked it
It’s the lovely fresh vibrancy of the narrative voice that immediately draws you into this novel. And the deft pulsing characterisation of the young heroine, Clarissa. The author has a real feel and love for the era and there’s a big warm heart beating through this story. Initially Clarissa is living in an almost idyllic world. An elegant country house with servants and all the trappings of the ruling classes of that era. This world masterfully and beautifully evoked. The prose in its fresh unde ...more
Clarissa is in her late teens at the outbreak of the First World War and lives on her father's estate, Deyning Park, with her parents and her three brothers. The life she thought she would have is swept away by the conflict raging across Europe and is replaced by one that is very different.

When I started reading The Last Summer I was afraid that it was going to be too similar to Downton Abbey to be enjoyable. There are a lot of similarities, particularly at the beginning of the book, but as it p
Mar 12, 2012 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must confess to having grown a bit weary of dual-time frame novels so it was a delight to pick up The Last Summer knowing that it would focus on one particular period in history, the Great War and beyond. Brownie points are awarded for the inclusion of a sumptuous country house, Deyning Park – come Spring, of a weekend, you will find my family and I wandering around the grounds of Mount Stewart, a National Trust property, not unlike Deyning with its own lake and beautifully manicured gardens a ...more
Jun 11, 2016 Melissa rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars

Judith Kinghorn's debut novel, The Last Summer, is the type of book you'll want to curl up with and not put down. The novel opens in England in July of 1914, at Deyning Park, the stately country home of the wealthy Granville family. For Clarissa Granville, the youngest child and only daughter, the summer is a time to relax and spend time with family and friends. Rather than spend time with those in her own circle, however, Clarissa befriends Tom Cuthbert, the son of Deyning Park's house
Sep 10, 2015 Mary rated it it was ok
Shelves: own, 2015
This book started out promising but it quickly went downhill.

Pampered girl falls for a servants son, due to the difference in thier social status, it's made clear from the start that thier relationship could never be, but of course they snuck around until the war started and both of thier lives go in different directions, but through chance meetings they would have a fling, and go back to thier lives, this happened time and time again through the years, it's like thier love was a yo-yo.

Most of
Jun 11, 2016 Clarisse rated it it was amazing
I Love it, love it !!
Jul 10, 2016 Sara rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. I've had this book on my to-read list for almost 4 years, and I finally got around to reading it as part of my never-ending quest to make it through my to-read list. This book opens in 1914 England, where Clarissa lives in a large country house with her well-to-do family. That summer, she meets Tom, the son of their housekeeper, and the two of them fall in love despite the disapproval of their families because of their different classes. Soon, WWI begins and Tom heads off to fight, as ...more
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¿Por qué no una traducción al Español? 2 4 Oct 24, 2014 07:13AM  
Translation to Spanish, why not? 1 3 Jul 07, 2014 05:16PM  
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Judith Kinghorn's novels are published worldwide and have been translated to German, French, Spanish and Italian. She lives with her family in Hampshire, England. For more, please see Judith's website:
More about Judith Kinghorn...

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“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 époque…” 6 likes
“But I recently celebrated my thirtieth birthday and became acutely aware of my age, and the passing of time.” 4 likes
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