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The Last Pier

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  65 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Abeautiful, atmospheric novel about family, love, loss, and regret by a critically acclaimed author

How deep the summer had bitten into the land that last August, how cruelly it had burnt into earth and grass and air. What had started out as a pastel and water-faded spring turning so unexpectedly into a splintering, shimmering thing. All that had been required was a spark t
Paperback, 352 pages
Published July 1st 2015 by Hesperus Press (first published April 10th 2015)
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Manchester Military History Society (MMHS)
A genuinely beautifully written book.

Although this book takes a while to get going, stick with it. Roma Tearne writes in a style that I can only describe as part poetry, part cinematic. Her style does take some getting used to but once you have you are led on a stream of imagery and narrative that defy definition.

The story is set on the cusp of Britain’s entry into World War 2 and is told from the view of 13 year old Cecily Maudsley. She lives in an idyllic house on the Suffolk coast with her f
Ellie M
Apr 28, 2015 Ellie M rated it it was amazing
I was pleased to receive a review copy from the publishers, Hesperus Press, and in return this is an honest review.

I liked the blurb for this book when I read it, and liked the idea that whilst the setting was wartime WW2 (or the days before) England, the story wasn't necessarily focused on the minutiae of war. Indeed this is a story, which is part family saga, part reflection/ time shift, and part mystery.

Cecily, the main character, is a young girl and we see her return to her family home in
Kimberly Bidwell
Mar 03, 2016 Kimberly Bidwell rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
So much to say about this book. At times it was so confusing and hard to follow but the author's poetic storytelling drew me in. I kept reading and discovered a haunting tale. This book is not for those who need happy endings. In between moments of happiness, it is filled with sorrow.

However, I love how the reader is putting the pieces of the story together as Cecily, the main character, is doing the same. We see the world through her eyes and get to experience her lost childhood and her heartb
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
The Last Pier by Rome Tearne is a book that needs to be treated like an expensive bottle of wine. It needs to be read in small sips, to allow the taste and flavours and nuances to fully bloom.

How deep the summer had bitten into the land that last August, how cruelly it had burnt into earth and grass and air. What had started out as a pastel and water-faded spring turning so unexpectedly into a splintering, shimmering thing. All that had been required was a spark to cause a fire. Why had no one n
Dec 05, 2016 Sue rated it liked it
It was ok, a pleasant read but can't say it really 'wowed' me!
Jackie Law
Dec 07, 2015 Jackie Law rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Last Pier, by Roma Tearne, is a beautifully written, evocative tale that explores sibling rivalry, guilt, and the complexities of familial love. Set in and around a bucolic, Suffolk fruit farm on the eve of the Second World War, the atmosphere is tense and claustrophobic as the cast of characters strain against their insular lives. This is not so much a story of a lost way of life as of lives lost due to the constraints of a society that demanded conformity and silent loyalty.

Cecily is thirt
Chenique Erasmus
Feb 09, 2016 Chenique Erasmus rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, mystery, history
The Last Pier by Roma Tearne

Rating: 5/5
Released: Date: 10 April 2015
Pages: 332
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Hesperus Press
Source: I received an uncorrected paperback copy of this book on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Reader's Warehouse.

When I first started to read The Last Pier, I felt a little overwhelmed by it's uniqueness. Roma is what I would call an exceptional writer and The Last pier took my breath away and served as a reminder to why I am a reader.

The Writing Style. (5/5)

The L
Apr 20, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it
Originally posted on:> http://lauraslittlebookblog.blogspot....

I found Roma Tearne's The Last Pier a fascinatingly haunting tale set in the summer before the second world war. We are thrown straight into a tragedy, but only given snippets as to what has actually happened. Focusing on then 13 year old Cecily we transported back to the time before the tragedy and after to the 1960's when Cecily is forty years old.

Roma Tearne's writing is utterly beautiful. She manages to capture the atmosphere
Ely (Tea & Titles)
Review from Tea & Titles

A copy of The Last Pier was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is a hard book for me to review mostly because I don’t really know how I feel about it. When I first looked it up on Goodreads I was excited—1939, England, family secrets—it all sounded very Atonement to me. Atonement is one of my favourite books, so how could I possibly turn this down?

It has a very similar plot to Atonement—an annoying little girl who doesn’t understand the
Jo Barton
Apr 12, 2015 Jo Barton rated it it was amazing
This is a haunting story of love, loss and family secrets in a world irrevocably changed by the circumstances of war.

In 1939, dark war clouds are gathering and for eleven year old Cecily Maudsley life is about to be changed forever. Palmyra Farm, the Maudsley’s family home, is a place of secrets and hidden desires and Cecily’s relationship with her mother Agnes and her older sister Rose is fraught with petty squabbles and minor sibling jealousies. However, a devastating tragedy shakes the very f
Jan 31, 2016 Carol rated it liked it
I had a bit of a problem with the structure of this book, the transition between 1939 and the 1960's was "clunky" and didn't flow easily. The constant jumping back and forth within chapters meant I was having to reread a sentence or paragraph to ensure I was following the storyline properly.
That said, this is an atmospheric book, some lovely prose at times poetic. It centres around a family in Suffolk in the summer before the war. Their loves, losses and secrets. Everyone is guarding a secret,
Karen Wolff
Sep 17, 2016 Karen Wolff rated it liked it
Shelves: war, roma-tearne
Roma Tearne is one of my all time favourite authors due to her style of writing. She is an artist too and consequently writes with colour, imagination and a unique style. So far most of her novels have had a Sri Lankan connection, but this one strays from that path and is based in Britain with a focus on the beginnings of wartime England with Italians living in the country at the time. A very interesting perspective and I learnt more about what happened then to Italians living in the UK at the ...more
Debbie Krenzer
Aug 11, 2015 Debbie Krenzer rated it liked it
3.5 stars

For me, this book was very slow and VERY confusing at the beginning and then I realized that I wasn't supposed to know how Rose was killed. That was the story and the mystery of the whole book. However, I do have to say that this book felt as though it was translated from another language and not done very well. There were many parts of it that I did not understand. I did get the gist of it, but there were many times I wasn't sure if it was just filler, if I should be getting something
Sep 28, 2015 Mandy rated it really liked it
Published in April 2015, at the time of writing this review (September 2015_ I’m surprised at how little notice this wonderful book has received. Only 9 reviews on Amazon, and only 16 on Goodreads. And yet it deserves far more acclaim than that. Roma Tearne is a very talented storyteller and all her skills are in evidence in this her latest book. It’s the story of 2 families whose lives are forever intertwined, and it’s an unforgettable tale. A dual time narrative, we are introduced to the ...more
I nearly gave up on this about a quarter of the way through. I found the frequent jumps in time from 1939 to the 1960s very confusing. Something had happened in the lives of Cecily and her sister Rose. However it was only when, during a flash-back we learned more about their mother, Agnes and Aunt Kitty, her sister, that I began to follow the plot more clearly.

The character of Cecily is very well crafted. I really liked the way the complex inter-relationships between her and her family were exp
Sally Coles
Aug 24, 2015 Sally Coles rated it liked it
Cecily is thirteen years old the summer that World War 2 is threatening. She lives in a lovely house with her family, Joe her brother, who will be going off to war if it happens and Rose her sister who is 3 years older and very glamorous and no longer wanting to spend time with Cecily.

They are all friends with the Italian family who run the ice cream parlour and she is discovering that that she has deeper feelings for Carlo, but like all the young men he only has eyes for Rose. Cecily also spend
Liza Markling
Aug 19, 2016 Liza Markling rated it it was amazing
I truly loved The Last Pier and Roma Tearne’s writing style. The plot can be a little hard to follow as the storyline jumps back and forth through time, but reading it from the main character’s point of view allows the reader to discover the secrets at the same time as Cecily does in the book.

With WWII rapidly approaching England, Cecily, her family, and their village are torn between preparing for war and living as if there would be no war. When Cecily’s older sister, Rose, suddenly dies, Cecil
Wendy Greenberg
Nov 07, 2015 Wendy Greenberg rated it liked it
I love Roma Tearne's writing, particularly her ability to build tension as well as her subject matter. This novel of secrets and half truths is set in the month before the outbreak of WW2 and 30 years later with the narratives drifting into and informing each other. A hot August with impending war is the backdrop to what we know is impending family tragedy, although the way this unfolds is, I thought, masterly. The detail of British life in the pre-war period was fascinating and horrifying in ...more
May 08, 2016 Jenn rated it really liked it
Cecily was only 13-years-old in the summer of '39. She was desperate to grow up and be like her older sister Rose. But something happened that summer that tore the family apart and it seemed that everyone blamed Cecily, including herself. Now, 29 years later, she has returned to the deserted family farm. She goes through her memories of that summer and remembers the good times and the bad, her innocence - bits and pieces of conversations that she was too young to fully understand. Her memories ...more
Bev Taylor
May 15, 2015 Bev Taylor rated it really liked it
august 1939 - cecily is just 11 years living in the country with her parents and elder sister and brother. h/e the storm clouds of a war r looming and things will change in both friendships, actions and family relationships. she is known as the listener - though she does not always understand what she hears and just stores it. she also has to compete with voices in her head

fast forward 27 years and cecily returns to the farm to try and get to the truth of the matter and lay her mind at rest - b
Feb 15, 2015 Latkins rated it really liked it
Reminiscent of Ian McEwan's 'Atonement', this novel is about a family living in Suffolk in 1939, the summer WWII started, and the traumatic events which happened to them one night. It moves between 1939 and the 1960s, when youngest daughter Cecily returns to her long-empty old childhood home after 29 years away, and remembers that summer, when she was 14, and her 16-year-old sister Rose died. Just what happened, and who was responsible for her death? Part mystery, part family saga, this is a ...more
Feb 02, 2016 Anouk rated it it was amazing
Another fabulously written novel by Tearne. As good as Brixton Beach or The road to Urbino, she's still got the same great storytelling. Loved the characters and the historical context. Couldn't put it down.

Like The road to Urbino, the Last Pier is connected to Italy, rather than the Sri Lanka of her earlier novels. I guess you can take the girl out of Sri Lanka but you can't take Sri Lanka out of the girl...there is a distict style, full of premonitions and sudden unexpected violence that Tearn
Apr 26, 2015 Jean rated it liked it
This was a Goodreads win and is also an uncorrected proof copy. This book has been getting a lot of high ratings. I have to say sadly, although I normally enjoy this genre, I did not find myself engaging with this book. I found the main character annoying and whining. Chapters are a reasonable length, but broken up in to sections and there is a lot of switching between timeframes, making it, in my opinion, very bitty with no real flow. It had promise, but just didn't captivate me.
Nov 01, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of 2 sisters Rose and Cecily whose lives are affected by the onset of WW2. It explores relationships between family and friends and all views of what the war will bring and the future of the village.
I really did enjoy this book, with its twists and turns in the plot but at times found it very confusing as it jumped from present to past and back again.
I received this book as part of a goodreads giveaway.
Aug 31, 2015 Beverley rated it liked it
This time switch mystery set in WW2 and present day was an intriguing read. The author's style was a little hard to get used to at first, with lots of jumping around and twists and turns within the plot that could be very confusing. At times it did require quite a lot of persistence to stick with this book, but eventually all of the pieces of the story fell into place to create an overall satisfying read.
Sep 13, 2015 Joy rated it liked it
This was a little difficult to read, I'm not usually a fan of stories that have time shifts. This one does and it takes a while to find out what really happens when it could've been written in first person which I think would've made it more interesting. Not a bad read, it does leave one thinking about who can really be trusted?
Sep 12, 2015 Caroline rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-read-list
I won this as a First Read on Goodreads.
A wonderful story, beautifully written and some of the passages are so poetic and beautiful.This is such an atmospheric novel concerning a young girl Cecily and her older sister Rose set just before the 2nd World War.It is about love,loss, family and War.Parts of it are really moving. This is a real page turner and I loved it!! Highly Recommended
Apr 19, 2015 Denis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I really enjoyed this book and it kept me riveted throughout
I will highly recommend this book to friends and family as for me it was a beautifully written novel
for me personally it's worth every single 1 of the 5 stars
Simonetta Broughton
Jul 26, 2015 Simonetta Broughton rated it it was amazing
I also was lucky to get the unpublished version and have Enjoyed it thoroughly: the tension and the description make the waves in my brain relax!!
Helen Turner
Helen Turner rated it liked it
May 13, 2015
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Roma Tearne is a Sri Lankan born artist living and working in Britain. She arrived, with her parents in this country at the age of ten. She trained as a painter, completing her MA at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford. For nearly twenty years her work as a painter, installation artist, and filmmaker has dealt with the traces of history and memory within public and private spaces.

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