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The Last Romantics

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  35,475 ratings  ·  4,019 reviews
“The greatest works of poetry are the stories we tell about ourselves."

When the renowned poet Fiona Skinner is asked about the inspiration behind her iconic work, The Love Poem, she tells her audience a story about her family and a betrayal that reverberates through time.

It begins in a big yellow house, with a funeral, an iron poker, and a brief variation forever known as
ebook, 384 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by William Morrow
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Isabelle I actually found this link here, which Conklin answers herself!

The young Luna is Joe's Great-Granddaughter! …more
I actually found this link here, which Conklin answers herself!

The young Luna is Joe's Great-Granddaughter! (less)
N The book didn’t make you feel sad......many times just confused. This could have been a much better story. There was fruit for a really excellent book…moreThe book didn’t make you feel sad......many times just confused. This could have been a much better story. There was fruit for a really excellent falls short. I was happy to finish it.(less)

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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  35,475 ratings  ·  4,019 reviews

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Once again, I find myself in the outlier club. I read to 50% and speed read/skimmed the rest to see if I was missing out on a great read. I wasn’t.

Blurbs compare it to Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, a book I loved and awarded 5 stars. In my opinion this book was nothing like Patchett’s beyond the fact that both books were about siblings.

What worked:
The premise is good and the beginning of the book when the children were young was interesting and engaging. I was sure I had a winner. But then....

Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
4.5 stars

The Last Romantics is about love. “Real love, true love. Imperfect, wretched, weak love. No fairy tales, no poetry. It is about the negotiations we undertake with ourselves in the name of love.”

This is the story of four siblings: Renee, Caroline, Joseph, and Fiona Skinner. When their unexpectedly dies when they are young children, their mother goes into a deep depression that they deem the “Pause.” The four siblings must learn to survive on their own and, in doing so, form a deep,
Angela M
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing

The heartbreaking times during the “Pause” for the four Skinner children is tempered only by the love they have for each other and the care they give to each other. This time during their mother’s “paralyzing grief” over the loss of their father, when all they had was each other will break your heart but uplift you with the strength and love of these children. After three years of debilitating depression, their mother Noni, finally lifts herself back with the help of a relative. All of them are
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Romantic love, friendly love, familial love, unconditional love, committed love, practical love and self-love. The Greeks had words for these ways of loving: Eros, Philia, Storge, Agape, Ludus, Pragma, and Philautia. This book is about love in all its forms. Love that stretches, binds, breaks, is betrayed and brought back together. These characters either pursue or embody the various forms of love throughout their lives.
A poet, in the not too distant future, tells the story behind her work, The
Diane S ☔
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor-2019
A family saga that spans a century. A story of sibling relationships, how they grow close due to a family situation, come apart, and finally come together again, albeit not the same. Conklin does an excellent job looking into her characters lives with a keen insight and a generosity towards the flaws each holds within. The pacing is terrific, despite the time period it covers it never feels rushed. Fiona, the youngest sister is our narrator, and her experiences as the youngest in a family of fou ...more
Elyse  Walters
Audiobook....narrated by Cassandra Campbell first ‘hoopla’ book. Adding increased speed was ideal for listening.

....A few of my favorite books are centered around the exploration of siblings. At times I was reminded of “Where the Crawdads Sing”, by Delia Owens, or Ann Packer’s book - “The Children’s Crusade”, or “The Interesting’s”, by Meg Wolitzer, or “The Glass Castle”, by Jeannette Walls, or “The Immortalists”, by Chloe Benjamin, or “Commonwealth”, by Ann Patchett. I like all of thes
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
At the risk of being overzealous, this book is everything! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

The Last Romantics is the story of four siblings and their love. Fiona Skinner is a famous poet, and when she is asked what inspired her most well-known work, The Love Poem, she shares the story of the four Skinner siblings, Joe, Caroline, Renee, and Fiona herself.

It all begins one wild summer in their Connecticut town; what the siblings call The Pause. Something occurs that changes their way of life, changes them, and they
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the story of four siblings Renee 11, Caroline 8, Joe 7, and Fiona 4...who’s dad dies suddenly in 1981.
The mom, Noni retreats to her bedroom in a paralyzing depression for a few years length of time which the children call “The Pause” and the bonds grow deep between the siblings as they look out and care for each other.
The story starts out in the future, where Fiona has become a renowned poet, and she looks back on their lives and it follows all of them throughout their relationships, m
Nilufer Ozmekik
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
4.5 Stars

This story travels between place – Bexley, Connecticut; New York City; Miami; Seattle – as well as between a lifetime of years. Shared through Fiona, who is the youngest of her family this story begins when she has reached the no-longer young age of 102, in the year 2079. There are only minor nods to the changes in people’s lives, or the changes to the planet, as the heart of this story is about this family, and at its heart, this story is about life, love, families, and death. But it’s
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars.

Thank you to the publisher William Morrow/Harper Collins who provided an advance reader copy via Edelweiss.

This is a story about a family with four kids who live in the middle class town of Bexley, Connecticut. It's 1981, and their father, Ellis Avery Skinner dies suddenly at the age of 34 while working on a patient in his dental practice. Three months following his death, the family must move from their comfortable and stately yellow colonial to a gray one-story ranch house six miles
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
1.5 ever so disappointing stars

Here I am once again finding myself at the "dislike" end of a book others have loved. As I think back for the reasons for my aversion to this book, I believe it was because of a bevy of unlikable characters, topics covered, and that hint, for lack of a better word, of what I thought to be pandering. I felt there was a definite anti men strain wandering through the pages and the topics brought forward, even that of climate change seemed to be there with no discerni
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)

Many thanks to HarperCollins for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review
In the way of human nature, some people choose again and again to destroy what it is they value the most.

Do you guys remember Oobleck? That science experiment we always did in middle school but it always made a mess and everyone walked out of 2nd period cover in corn starch. For those of you who don't remember or never did it (what are you doing with you life?), it was this weird slime like substance t
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

The family had to move to a smaller house and a not-so-nice neighborhood and to fend for themselves because they only saw their mother when she decided to venture out from her bedroom.

Renee was the oldest, Caroline was next in line, Joe was the only boy, and Fiona was the baby when it all happened. They called this time their mother was absent The Pause. The Pause went on for a few years.

The children did well for a while, but then things started to get tough. Renee couldn’t take the responsibi
3 Stars

The Last Romantics is a family story of 4 siblings (Renee, Caroline, Joe & Fiona) whose father suddenly dies leaving their mother (Noni) a widow and on her own, with little money, to take care of her children. Due to how overwhelming this was to Noni, she went into a deep depression for three years and basically left the kids to fend for themselves. When she "snaps out of it", she finds a job and resumes taking order of the home. This story is largely about "The Pause" (the time of Noni's
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intertwined threads of sibling love.

Moving, elegant and generously rendered, this author truly understands her characters, both their scars and their spirits, then weaves their stories effortlessly through shifting time periods. I was fully immersed in their lives from the time of ‘the pause,’ a time when they raised themselves to the adults they became, their childhood reverberating throughout their lives. The sibling bond is examined to great effect and with immense insight.

Is this a stor
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018, arcs
Okay, for one, I've never understood these family dramas like this or The Nest, where all the adult children are still so obsessed with each other's lives. Like, my brother and I were REALLY close growing up. But now we're adults and I trust he can take care of himself -- he's no longer my responsibility. They're all ADULTS. So there's that.
Then the vague apocalyptic future storyline...just weak. Pointless. Intriguing but never fleshed out and not even tantalizing with that -- just weak.
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Christine by: Angela M/Jen Tar H/Cindy 5
Shelves: literary-fiction
3.5 stars rounded to 4 stars

Well, this is a tough one. For me it was 3 stars all the way until the last three chapters (starting at 85%). I especially loved the last chapter; it is not entitled Epilogue, but basically is one—a nice detailed one. I LOVE epilogues, especially those that span at least a few years time.

This is a complex story, complex in a good way. It’s a saga about family relationships, especially sisters. Though it revolves around the powerful ties of family, the desire to protec
Cindy Burnett
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Last Romantics is a beautiful book from start to finish. I picked up the book to read it and didn’t stop reading until I was finished – it is that good. Conklin traces the lives of four siblings across the span of their lives alternating between a far future year, 2079, and earlier moments in their lives and relationships. I enjoyed the futuristic time period which only plays a small part in the story, but what I loved the most was the perfectly paced development of the family’s story and dy ...more
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edelweiss, fiction
This was a book that I very nearly devoured in 2 sittings if it weren’t for the fact that I had work and family obligations I had to take care of, so I ended up finishing the last dozen pages or so just now (turned out to be 3 sittings, not 2). In all honesty, when I first picked up the ARC of this book and read the summary, my expectations weren’t too high, as the premise sounded like it would be yet another story about sibling rivalry and complicated family dynamics – both familiar topics that ...more
In the spring of 1981, Ellis Skinner died. His wife, Antonia, was 31-years old and the oldest of his four children was eleven, the youngest just three. His wife, who the children called Noni, retreated to her bedroom following the funeral and didn’t emerge for any substantial activity for the next three years. The children referred to that time as the “Pause” and Renee, the oldest, stepped up and took care of her younger siblings until a relative intervened and Noni emerged. Joe, the only boy an ...more
Melissa Crytzer Fry
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Having adored the literary writing style and storyline of The House Girl, I was anxiously awaiting Tara Conklin’s next book. It didn’t matter how many years in between, as I am always willing to wait for a talented author’s next novel. Such was the case with Tara Conklin’s sophomore tale.

While The Last Romantics is decidedly different than her debut – in terms of setting, genre and era – it is just as literary and showcases the writing chops this author possesses. Some examples:

To me, adolescent
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read Conklin's "The House Girl" a few years ago and found it fairly forgettable so didn't have high expectations for The Last Romantics. But this beautifully written novel about love and relationships turned out to be quite profound. I felt invested in the Skinner family and at times related to each of them. I thought the section about "The Pause" was brilliant. Framing the novel in the future (with a climate change theme) was an unnecessary distraction for me, otherwise - wonderful! ...more
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
5 family dynamic stars to “The Last Romantics”

This book was beautifully written, with realistic and flawed characters. This sweeping novel covers a family of four siblings through challenging childhoods and through the realities of adulthood. We get to know Fiona, Renee, Caroline, and Joe. We follow the Skinners through a funeral that changes their lives. The family ties are strong in this book and those connections are forged in childhood for the Skinners. The story alternates between a dystopi
Karima chermiti
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was ok

Actual Rating : 1.5 Stars

Where Do I start, Where do I even begin. Man, this book was a struggle for me and it didn’t matter how much I tried I just couldn’t warm up to it for various reasons from the writing, to the story and mainly the characters. “The last romantics” was a mess for me and I wish I just DNFed and speared myself the heartbreak and disappointment.

I was wrong to tell you that this is a story about the failures of love. No, it is about real love, true love. Imperfect, wretc
3.5 stars

The story starts in 2079, just sixty years from now, but still, I immediately thought it was headed into science fiction. Fortunately, no, although there is evidence of severe climate change all around. A centenarian poet, Fiona Skinner, is before an audience discussing her body of work when a girl named Luna comes forward to ask a question about Fiona's The Love Poem, which features another Luna from the past. This sets Fiona off on recalling for the audience her life story from childh
I love a good family saga and this one did not disappoint.

This book starts with Fiona Skinner in 2079 in a lectern answering questions about her writing. She takes us back and introduces us to her 3 siblings and her parents. Her dad dies pretty early on and provides this moment in their lives that they call "The Pause". I found the anecdotes endearing and it made me think back on memories I have with my own siblings growing up. Three girls and the golden son Joe make up this family. The book is
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
"The Last Romantics" is a family saga that spans nearly a decade. The focus of the book is Fiona Skinner, who has become become a famous poet and her three siblings - Renee, Caroline, and Joe. In 2079, Fiona is speaking in front of an audience in a world that has some sort of environmental issue (I'm not even sure what). A girl is there named Luna, who shares the same name as the person in her famous piece of work. This spawns the telling of their family story, and alternates between the present ...more
Renee (itsbooktalk)
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
I really loved this book! This family saga that centered on 4 siblings who were left to fend for themselves during what they called "the pause" after their father dies and their mother retreats to her bedroom for several years was so well written. We follow siblings Renee, Joe, Caroline and Fiona from childhood through old age which gave me the feeling that I truly knew these characters as real people.

I flew through the first half, finding Fiona's narration interesting yet with a melan
Jamie Rosenblit
Fantastic fantastic read. The Last Romantics is a sweeping family saga that takes place over many generations and is reminiscent of The Interestings with touches of The Immortalists. You will feel for siblings Fiona, Joe, Caroline & Renee through their struggles, trials and tribulations. You will feel the bonds of love and the strength of family. There are parts that will make you smile and parts that will make you want to cry and hold your own loved ones tight. This book will leave you saying I ...more
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Tara Conklin was born on St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands and raised in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. She is a graduate of Yale University, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and New York University School of Law. A joint US-UK citizen, Tara now lives in Seattle. Her first novel, The House Girl, was a NYTimes bestseller, #1 IndieNext pick and Target book club pick. Her second, The Last Roman ...more

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110 likes · 25 comments
“I was wrong to tell you that this is a story about the failures of love. No, it is about real love, true love. Imperfect, wretched, weak love. No fairy tales, no poetry. It is about the negotiations we undertake with ourselves in the name of love. Every day we struggle to decide what to give away and what to keep, but every day we make that calculation and we live with the results. This then is the true lesson: there is nothing romantic about love. Only the most naive believe it will save them. Only the hardiest of us will survive it.

And yet, And yet! We believe in love because we want to believe in it. Because really what else is there, amid all our glorious follies and urges and weaknesses and stumbles? The magic, the hope, the gorgeous idea of it. Because when the lights go out and we sit waiting in the dark, what do our fingers seek? Who do we teach for?”
“The greatest works of poetry are the stories we tell about ourselves.” 19 likes
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