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The Last Kings of Sark

3.15  ·  Rating details ·  242 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
"My name is Jude. And because of Law, Hey and the Obscure, they thought I was a boy."

Jude is twenty-one when she flies in a private plane to Sark, a tiny carless Channel Island, the last place in Europe to abolish feudalism. She has been hired for the summer to give tutoring to a rich local boy called Pip. But when she arrives, the family is unsettling - Pip is awkward, o
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 8th 2014 by St. Martin's Press (first published November 7th 2013)
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Apr 11, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I got this book for two reasons - "My name is Jude. And because of Law, Hey and the Obscure, they thought I was a boy” – that is absolutely me (although I spell my username a different way) so how could I resist? The other reason being that I have always wanted to visit Sark but never made it. So far, so good…

So, Jude goes to Sark to tutor sixteen year old Pip, despite the fact that she is not a teacher. How did she get the job? Apparently through an agency – hmmm. Anyway, there she is, tutoring
Maya Panika
May 18, 2014 rated it liked it
A book that seems to be about youth, love and loss, and the loss of youth and all that glory, told in three parts. I enjoyed the first bit, set on Sark and beautifully told with the yearning sense of days enjoyed with nostalgia even as they were being lived. It was a pleasantly poetic read, but one that never seemed to get where it thought it was going and in part two, it lost its way completely.
In the second part, the tale moves to France, where the three friends - Jude, Sofi and Pip - are a li
DNF at chapter 12 (30%)

ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

The blurb intrigued me to read this book, that's why I requested it from NetGalley in the first place. Somehow I was kind of wish that I'll get Jane Eyre-esque story, a beautiful-romantic with mystery kind of story.

Sark island interesting enough with its mysterious vibe. I think the author did a good job describing it. However it was hard for me to connect to the story and the characters.
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I was a lucky winner of this book on Goodreads Giveaways.
My thanks to Rosa Rankin-Gee and St. Martin's Press, as well as my apologies. I really don't like to give a negative review on a free book.

The writing in this book was pretty good, with lovely and poetic moments, but it was lacking in other areas. I found the characters very 2 dimensional and uninteresting. Jude was the least interesting one of the bunch, and that really shouldn't be the case for the protagonist (for the majority of the st
Nov 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
I feel like this book had potential--the premise was good, but it was so disjointed at times that it swiftly became boring or painful to read. You could see where the story was headed but something is lacking that creates a cohesive narrative. Also, I never really quite figured out Jude's character. I feel like I should have had more of a connection since over half the book is told from her perspective. Maybe that's the point? All I got was that she is probably anorexic, she lies a lot about lit ...more
why do all adult contemporary books have to be sad? (on the plus side, there was polyamory!!)

actual rating, 2.5, bc basically nothing happened
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review copy received from the publisher for an honest review.

Do you have memories of long careless summer days when you were young? I certainly do, as I’m sure many of us do. The Last Kings of Sark is a novel about such a summer – and how those days can leave a lingering taint over subsequent years – making you want to go back to those youthful golden days.

“My name is Jude. And because of Law, Hey and the Obscure, they thought I was a boy.
Not even a boy. A young man, and someone who could teac
Tim Roast
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The Last Kings of Sark” is about love and about the long summers like you experienced when you were young and carefree. “The world was blond, the wind was warm. These were the days that were golden.”

The first part of the book is written from Jude’s point of view and sees her arrive in Sark at the beginning of summer to provide tuition to the only child, Pip, of Eddy and Esme. Things don’t start too well as they thought she would be a boy. (“My name is Jude. And because of Law, Hey and the Obscu
Jun 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
The Last Kings of Sark by Rosa Rankin-Gee is a gripping and expressive story about life, love and loss revolving around Jude, Sofi and Pip. Jude is 21, Sofi is 19 and Pip is 16. Jude was engaged to be Pip’s summer tutor, and in the process learned so much about herself, Pip and Sofi, and she got much more than what she expected. Spirited, buoyant, carefree and yet so tender, Rosa Rankin-Gee has hewed out of a simple plot a wonderful and beautiful story which will endear to many readers.

Funnily e
Ella Bowman
Nov 15, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bob H
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, lgbt
The reader could call it "summer reading," in a way, both as an escapist novel -- and as a romance in a romantic setting, a wealthy family's vacation home on the remote, scenic and somewhat exotic isle of Sark, present day. The story focuses on two quirky young women: Sofi, 19, who cooks for the family, is of Polish ancestry but insists she's really from Ealing; and Jude, 21, who is there to tutor the family's only child, the teenaged Pip. There's also the father, Eddy, who is absent on business ...more
Courtney Maum
May 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Just finished "The Last Kings of Sark," and now I am listless, and in a saddened mood. This story, about three young people who forge a special friendship during what might have otherwise been a solitary summer on a remote island is a sensual hymn to youth, and innocence, to lust, to passion, to the thrill of cold water and skin warmed by the sun. My only regret is that I didn't get to spend more time with Pip, Sofi and Jude on the island of Sark-- I missed their hard won camaraderie in the seco ...more
Renee Lareau
Jul 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
My editor friend hooked me in with this description of the book:

"Do you remember those last days of summer, when the real world was tantalizingly just around the corner, but you were firmly planted in the sun and the glory and the beach and the friends you loved beyond measure? THE LAST KINGS OF SARK transported me back to those hazy, amazing, electrifying days and nights of pure love and fierce friendship, when all of us would last forever. If I close my eyes and reach back around the corner, t
Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved how this book evoked the minutiae of life so beautifully, yet so simply. Snapshots of time like super 8. Not at all in a precious instagrammed way. How young relationships imprint indelibly throughout a decade or even more, even as other people and things happen.
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
Have no idea what to make of this book. The writing is pretty good, but the story is lackluster, to say the least. Extremely predictable.
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I had won this book a year a few years ago from Goodreads but only now pulled it off my shelf and opened it (I have a lot of books!!!!)

So glad I did!

What a delightful little read about a summer friendship!

Immensely enjoyed!
The first half of this book was a good, fun read. The second half felt pointless. It felt like the author had tried to copy One Day, though unsuccesfully.
Amy Plum
Really enjoyed!
Roger Brunyate
May 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Ordinary Beginning, Intriguing End

About 130 pages into the book, I drafted the opening of a review: "Rosa Rankin-Gee's debut novel is pleasant enough, but I kept waiting for it to dig in and bite...." Three young people come together for a summer on the idyllic island of Sark, off the coast of Normandy. I liked them all, more or less, but nothing really happened. They got on but didn't fully engage, whether with each other or with me. I expected the book to continue in the same leisurely way to
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: channel-islands
I picked this book up purely because it has the word Sark in it, and because I am going through a mild obsession with the Channel Islands, I thought: must read it. There really isn't anything else on the copy I got to make you want to read it. There is literally no blurb whatsoever, it's all gushing quotes from reviews. That always makes me suspiscious; even more so when that's all there is.

So this is a coming-of-age summer holiday story which kind of goes on and on for the following ten years.
Star Bookworm
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-lit
Four very solid stars. I have to take away one star for the format of the book. I'm kind of an old-fashioned reader who likes my story sequential with obvious transitions. This novel is divided with a feel of short story chapters that combine to make up a whole book. We start with Jude on the first day of her summer tutoring job, and then more or less follow a timeline that spans 10 or so years. Unfortunately, I did feel a little lost sometimes. So, four stars it is.

The first chapter focuses on
Patrick Neylan
Dec 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, modern
The much-quoted first line about Jude's name neatly makes the point that Rosa Rankin-Gee is a good writer with a deft touch. Even if the book doesn't live up to its potential, we're in for a good read. Sark rises out of the sea "like a soufflé"; 'The Last Kings of Sark" rises, but doesn't quite rise all the way. Three stars is a bit harsh, but it's a kind of compliment, because the writing hints at how much better Rankin-Gee's later books might be.

It's easy to concentrate on the flaws. Even if
ILyk Tourid
Mar 21, 2014 rated it liked it
3 stars

I received this book as book giveaway on Goodreads. Thank you
I surprised myself to give a 3 stars to this book. It has no plot whatsoever, the narrator’s so unlikeable and detached/devoid of emotions.

The biggest problem I had reading this book was the point of view. I could not get my head around the first point of view from Jude then getting her as a ‘she’ (if she was narrating the book, does she think herself in the third point of view?) then in the final chapter as ‘I’ again. As an exa
a love story and paean to being young (and dumb, but sexy, curious, special, insatiable, know-it-all, scared, fearless.....) for a summer in sark. a rich boy needs a tutor, so jude gets hired, unknowingly that jude is a young woman, opps. the 'polish' cook too, from ealing, is 20 and a goddess, so that goes well with the 16 year boy, as he is a god.
so the idyllic summer passes with much bike riding (no cars allowed on sark), not much tutoring, a master gone on business, and the mistress never le
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, 2014, mainstream
This is a book that cries out for a book club. It's a discussion book. There's an elegance to the earthiness of this tale - it's a very literary mainstream novel that bobs quietly from moment to moment. And let me be very clear - this is a series of moments tied together with deliberately vague impressions of the time and space that links them together.

The book succeeded at drawing me in and making me participate in the storytelling process. I had an understanding - not necessarily the "correct"
Rachel Stevenson
Nov 19, 2013 rated it liked it
I picked up this book because I once spent a few days in Sark and loved it. Rosa Rankin-Gee describes the island beautifully and accurately in terms of geography, people, topography, although she does replace the Barclay Brothers with “Farquart & Fathers” – perhaps she didn't want to get sued.

Appropriately for an island that only abolished feudalism in 2008, the novel is concerned with class: Jude, the privately educated tutor, sits with the family to eat and drink and is treated respectfull
Amy Warrick
Mar 20, 2015 rated it liked it

I cheated; I read a few reviews before writing this.

Unlike the majority of the reviewers I read (and they weren't many), I liked the latter half of this book better than the first. I'd give this 3 1/2 stars, really.

The first part describes the beautiful summer three young people experience on the island of Sark - the narrator, Jude, is a young woman hired to tutor a teen boy, Pip. Sofi has been hired to cook. Sofi and Jude share a room and then escapades as they explore the island; Pip is a
Mar 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: firstreads
I received a copy of this from a goodreads giveaway.

The first part of this book, a little over half of it, reads like a slice-of-life adventure. Nothing big, just three young people on a channel island with no cares and (almost) no responsibilities. There's youth and sunshine and beaches and laughter and drinking and ocean and bicycling and more sunshine and youth. There's not too much to it -- no conflict, and the characters don't have pasts or futures. They are just there, suspended in an idyl
Yann Rousselot
Sep 16, 2014 rated it liked it
The novella which makes up the first part of the novel is a beautifully crafted coming of age story: loss of innocence, yes, but also a bit of a jab as class distinction and the strange and often antisocial idiosyncrasies of the super-rich. The setting is painted in a way that resonates in each character. The way a location changes you, how you evolve to adapt, to fit, to blend in, but also to stand out, to be an individual: relatable to any traveler. The narrator has a certain charm, but I coul ...more
Nov 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to have a review copy of this book sent out to me and am so pleased that I didn't delay in reading it. Once I started I found it impossible to put down and finished it in less than a day. The first section follows Jude, Sofi and Pip as they spend a sun drenched summer together on the channel island of Sark. Jude is there to tutor Pip, while Sofi is the 'Polish' help hired to manage the house; however when Pip's father is called away on business the three of them take advantage ...more
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