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The Last Summer

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3.86  ·  Rating details ·  2,795 ratings  ·  365 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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Elise Yes, pretty much. Nothing is very graphic. I would rate it PG.

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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  2,795 ratings  ·  365 reviews


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Richard Pierce
Oct 10, 2012 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
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Kayse
May 16, 2013 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
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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
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Jane
Jan 31, 2012 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
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Anna
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.

Joana
Aug 20, 2012 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.



MaryannC. Book Freak
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!!!
Holly
Jul 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Put simply: I was completely captivated & lost within this novel. As it should be. ...more
Deborah Swift
Feb 16, 2012 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
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Katherine Gypson
Mar 12, 2013 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
...more
Lindsey (Bring My Books)
Dec 09, 2012 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
Angie
Jan 01, 2015 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.
Felinish
Mar 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: tbr
This book was fine and I was able to read it in only a few days. I think it will appeal to plenty of readers, those who are more inclined to a romance.

It was written well enough with lovely descriptions and flowed easily but the storyline was only alright; a coming of age story that was hard to connect with.

The main character was increasingly irritating across the book and a lot of situations were frustrating. I thought it would be more Downton Abbey-esque but it didn’t have the breadth to com
...more
Kirsty
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
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Lindsay Williams
Jul 13, 2013 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
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✝✝ Ⓓaisy ❣ ✝✝

FRIGGIN' LOVE THIS BOOK!

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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Caitlin
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.
Marcia
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-library
The only thing that I didn't like about this book is that it ended. I could have read on and on about Tom and Clarissa. Set in a time right before World War I changed the world. When servants and noblepeople knew "their place" So much heartache and missed chances.
Dem
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Review to follow
Colleen Turner
I reviewed this book for www.luxuryreading.com.

In the summer before the First World War, Clarissa Granville is living the ideal life of a sheltered young woman of rank at her family’s country estate of Deyning. Knowing very little about the world beyond the gates of Deyning, Clarissa has been raised like most women of her class to believe that her future consists of parties, the search for a rich husband and a life raising children and caring for her home. That is until Tom Cuthbert, the houseke
...more
Anne OK
Apr 07, 2013 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
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Dana
May 29, 2015 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
Rhi
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a story that I had great difficulty in putting down ... but also great difficulty in reading. The Last Summer is beautifully written with very real and wonderful characters who evoke a world far removed from our own. Clarissa is dreamy and manages to hold on to a certain degree of innocence (despite everything she is put through) that really makes her someone special. Her relationship with Tom manages to survive every trial that life, society, the war, and their respective families and ...more
Violet wells
Oct 17, 2014 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
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
...more
Amanda
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best books I've read this year so far. Clarissa's voice is authentic, engaging and really captures the inertia of the privileged lady bred to do nothing, be nothing other than beautiful and entertaining. It is evocative and very sad and I highly recommend it.
Carol
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed it! This wonderful love story is sad, heartbreaking and frustrating at times, but full of interesting aspects of early 20th century English life encompassing WW1. You can't help but wish for Tom and Clarissa's happiness throughout the book.
Ann Burt
Apr 06, 2013 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.
Alice Quick
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of my favourite books ever! Literally I read it in one day!
Clarisse
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I Love it, love it !!
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¿Por qué no una traducción al Español? 2 4 Oct 24, 2014 07:13AM  
¡¡¡TRAIGAN ESTE LIBRO A ARGENTINA, POR EL AMOR DE DIOS!!! 2 3 Aug 20, 2014 03:09PM  
Translation to Spanish, why not? 1 3 Jul 07, 2014 05:16PM  

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Judith Kinghorn's acclaimed début The Last Summer was published in the UK, Canada and British Commonwealth countries in 2012, in the USA in 2013, and has been translated to languages including German, Spanish, French and Italian. Her subsequent novels include The Memory of Lost Senses (2013), The Snow Globe (2015) and The Echo of Twilight (2017).

Find out more about Judith and her novels at www.ju
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28 likes · 7 comments
“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
“I tutored myself in the art of solemnity, kept my euphoria private, and adopted a serious demeanour in keeping with everyone else and the general ambience of the house. I continued my solitary daily walks about the estate, carefully choreographing scenes and conversations yet to happen. I returned to those places of our clandestine moments together, replaying them in my head, languishing in his treasured words . . . and sometimes adding more. I stood under frosty sunsets, my warm breath mingling with the cold evening air as I watched the silent flight of birds across the sky. And even in those twilit autumnal days I felt a light shine down upon my path. For though he was no longer at Deyning, no longer in England, the fact that he lived and breathed had already altered my vision; and nothing, not even a war, could quell my faith in the inevitability of his presence in my life.” 6 likes
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