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The Last Boat Home

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  136 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Explosive, dark and tender, The Last Boat Home is a devastating novel about sacrifice, survival and a mother’s love. If you loved The Light Between Oceans or The Snow Child, this is for you.

On the wind-swept southern coast of Norway, sixteen-year-old Else is out on the icy sea, dragging her oars through the waves while, above her, storm clouds are gathering. Surrounded by
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 13th 2014 by Hutchinson
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3.70  · 
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 ·  136 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Caroline Southgate
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
A book that starts in present and them goes back to her as a girl. The life she led, her violent father. Set in Norway on the coast, her dad was a trawlerman but had to fins another job due to not enough work, he was a drunk too.
This book came to me by way of a secret Booksanta at my new reading group, and I probably wouldn't have picked it up from a bookshelf myself, but I'm glad that I read it. As other readers have said, it was beautifully written. I didn't find it slow-paced as such, as much as paced to match Else's life on the Norwegian coast, both growing up and when she is a (fairly young, I think) grandmother. There were flurries of action, just as there are in life, when the pastor visits, when Else sneaks off, ...more
Sep 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: r4r-and-arc
I received a free copy of this book via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I struggled at the start of this book. It was a little confused and didn't hold my interest. But once I got into it, it was quite enjoyable, the story was good and it flowed well. I liked most of the characters, especially Else's grandaughter.

This book had strong themes of abuse, religions and heartache. It had some moments that were hard to read due to their subject nature but at the same moment you had to read o
Della O'Brien
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a pleasure to read because it was so well written. The story is a little bleak and harrowing. Story of a mum and her daughter and abusive husband and also story of that daughter and her daughter.
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Set in a God fearing community in a small Norwegian costal town. After a somewhat slow start, the story of Else and her family gradually develops in to a gripping tale of love, secrecy and sacrifice. Overall, it was a good read particularly for a debut novel.

Karen M
Jun 09, 2015 rated it liked it
This debut novel is a bit of a mixed bag. I actually thought it had been translated from Norwegian, but a little basic research revealed that it had not; Ms Brovig however, grew up in Norway before moving to England at age seventeen. It shows here and there in her English. I decided not to mind when I noticed the writing because the English was slightly off in tiny ways like saying Else walked to the car 'together with' someone rather than just 'with' them.

The second criticism is the pacing of
Cleo Bannister
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Dea Brøvig conjures up a desolate and harsh debut novel which is mirrored by the unforgiving Norwegian winters which is described so vividly that I longed to pass the young Else Dybdahl yet another jumper to keep her warm on her ferry home from the town at the end of each school day.

The story is split a past that covers the time from 1974-1976 and the present day, 2009, where Else is forced to confront those memories she had hoped were safely buried when her boyfriend returns to the island to li
The Last Boat Home is the debut novel of Dea Brovig and the narrative is shared between the mid-1970s and 2009. The novel opens with the lead character Else giving birth, and the circumstances behind this event, and the identity of the father of the child, is key in tying the two eras together.

The return of her childhood sweetheart Lars in 2009 forces Else to confront the past. Born into a strict church-going Norwegian fishing community, we learn of her early life, her relationship with Lars whi
Feb 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads, reviewed
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

The Last Boat Home is the debut novel of Norwegian author Dea Brøvig. Set in a small village on the south coast of Norway, the story follows Else Dybdahl through two different time periods: then (1974-1976) and now (2009). The narrative begins in 1976 where Else, who we currently know nothing about, is in labour. After this the tale switches between then and now (then becoming 1974 and continuing up until the birth of Else’s daughter Ma
Jun 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Else rested her temple against the cold glass and imagined how it would happen. A tearing of the guts, a hatching, a birth. Even now, it did not seem real. She knew girls who, at that moment, were sitting in their classrooms counting the minutes until break, while she tallied the seconds between her last contraction and the next.

Dea Brøvig's atmospheric debut novel The Last Boat Home opens with a glimpse into Else's past as a pregnant teenager pacing the kitchen, preparing for birth. In the ne
This is a beautiful and very moving book that conjures up the harshness of mid twentieth century rural Norwegian life with a sparcity of language and depth of feeling that is quite wonderful. The novel reminded me of Burial Rites in many ways both in the writing style and simply the harsh and restricted life described. The Last Boat is split into two sections one set during the mid 1970's and the other in 2009. It was both fascinating and slightly terrible to read about the restricted, mysogynis ...more
Charlotte (Escapades of a Bookworm)
Review also appears on my blog Escapades of a Bookworm

The pace of The Last Boat Home is slow, matching the sluggishness of life on the coast of snowy Norway and the harsh reality that occurs due to the mood swings of an alcoholic father. This slow pace means that the ending quietly builds up unexpectedly. And allows the reader to will feel the same emotions as Else - shock and outrage over what occurs.

The reader's interest is kept throughout the book, by the puzzlement of who is Marianne’s fathe
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014, contemporary
Else lives with her daughter Marianne and grand-daughter Liv, when seeing a familiar person from her past causes her to remember events from 1975/6 that led to her pregnancy and the subsequent birth of Marianne. The story is told in two different time frames, the present (being 2009) and 1975/6.

Beautifully written, the book evokes a sense of time and place better than anything I've read since Burial Rites. There were passages in the book that were very powerful.

However, for such a very slim boo
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Dea Brovig’s debut novel is a haunting and atmospheric tale set in a small community on the south coast of Norway. It tells of the life of Else Dybdahl, growing up in the 1970s, and how her life is thrown into turmoil when a circus comes to town. In this dual-time narrative, we switch between 1974-6 and 2009, when we find out how the events of those early years changed Else’s life for ever. Mirrored by the harsh environment, there’s nothing cosy about this small village. The isolation, the repre ...more
Mar 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Last Boat Home is Dea Brovig's very first novel and I look forward to further novels by Dea Brovig in the future. Author Dea Brovig moved to the UK from Norway at the age of seventeen. In The Last Boat Home Dea has set her story in the wind-swept southern coast of Norway. The story opens up Aliitle in the past January 1976 Else a year a year ago had caught a ferry after school. Now she knew the girls were sitting in their classrooms counting the minutes until break, while Else counted the se ...more
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: a, first-reads, hardback, novel
An atmospheric novel set on the coast of Norway in 2009. When Else’s life is turned upside down by the return of a past love, memories are awakened from 30 years before; thus in the telling and revealing of her story we comprehend how powerful the bond of love is between a mother and daughter. Very enjoyable read. I was pleased to receive this as a Goodreads First Read.
Suzanne Woods
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
How Chinese whispers in small communities can make peoples lives hell. For if they only new what was really happened behind closed doors.
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-readers
I was so pleased to have received this in a Goodreads First Read. It was an enjoyable novel, about sacrifice, survival and a mother's love. I shall look forward to more books by Dea Brovig.
The Book
Sep 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: europe, norway
Tender, unexpected, loving. Enjoyed this.
Philippa Bresler
Oct 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2014
Pretty insipid read really. Such a harrowing plot, and yet, I just didn't really care. Annoyingly, as I was so keen to read it.
Aileen Bernadette Urquhart
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 21st-century
Slow moving, but a really good read. I kept going as I found the descriptions of Norwegian rural life quite fascinating. Then the story hotted up!
rated it it was amazing
May 31, 2014
Susan Aa
rated it it was amazing
Mar 20, 2018
Jennifer Johnstone
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May 21, 2016
Katlijn Demuynck
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Terese Smith
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Susan Edwards
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