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The Last Romantics

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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  7,030 ratings  ·  1,238 reviews
The New York Times bestselling author of The House Girl explores the lives of four siblings in this ambitious and absorbing novel in the vein of Commonwealth and The Interestings.

“The greatest works of poetry, what makes each of us a poet, are the stories we tell about ourselves. We create them out of family and blood and friends and love and hate and what we’ve read and w
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Hardcover, 368 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by William Morrow
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3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,030 ratings  ·  1,238 reviews


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Meredith
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
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, u
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Angela M
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
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Tammy
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
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Diane S ☔
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Audiobook....narrated by Cassandra Campbell .....my 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
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JanB
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....

Wh
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
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 have
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Karen
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
*TUDOR^QUEEN*
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Cheri
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
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Victoria
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 story o
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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
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Cindy Burnett
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jennifer
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book through the First Reads giveaway program.

A powerful, at times heartbreaking, novel about the bonds of family and the power of its love. Richly defined characters, prose that kept me reaching for a highlighter, and a smooth flowing storyline made me sad to turn the last page.

A stunning novel that has me excited to read more from this author.
Bkwmlee
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, edelweiss
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
Melissa Crytzer Fry
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
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Marialyce
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
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DeAnn
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Tory
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Egh.
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.
For
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Michelle
Feb 24, 2019 rated it liked it
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 No
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Renee (itsbooktalk.com)
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
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Jamie
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 sayi ...more
Robert Blumenthal
I remember the end of the movie Still Alice, a hauntingly beautiful scene. The Juliane Moore character, suffering from the early stages of dementia, has read a play written by her daughter, played by Kristin Stewart. No one else in the family has been able to get or appreciate the play. The Kristin Stewart character asks her mom what is the play about. She has to ask her a few times, and her mom finally says "It's about love." Her daughter nods her head, smiling, and says, "yeah mom, it's about ...more
Karima chermiti

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, wretched, w
...more
Sherri Thacker
Read this on 1 rainy day and enjoyed it very much!
Basic B's Guide
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was completely swept away and surprised by how much I really loved this book. Insightful, thoughtful and lovely, this is a story I won’t soon forget. We begin the journey when the children are young and their father has just passed away. An event that shapes them all, we see how their father’s death and their mother’s grief affects them in different ways.

I really enjoyed each of the siblings. Reminiscent of The Immoralists, we are given a look inside each of their lives. While the story does c
...more
Rhiannon Johnson
I'm going to start with my only problem of this book...the title. The Last Romantics is not the best title for this book. As a matter of fact, I almost didn't read the book because of the title (I am not a fan of romance and I certainly don't want to read about romantics--no offense to readers who enjoy the genre, just not my jam) which means I would have missed out on a great reading experience. To be fair the title ties to one of the character's creative projects and author Tara Conklin tries ...more
Bobbieshiann
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"I believe now that certain events are inevitable. Not in a fateful way, for I have never had faith in anything but myself, but in the way of human nature. Some people will choose, again and again, to destroy what it is they value the most".

4 siblings come together to love but slowly drift apart as the death of one of their parents disrupts their household. They learn to survive, and by doing so, they change in ways they do not realize. To watch this story slowly build up is touching as a reade
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Nancy
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: librarything
The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin is the moving story of the family bonds that both save us and tear us asunder.

''...this is a story about the failures of love, and the Pause was the first." from The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin

Fiona Skinner, 102 years old and a renowned poet, returns to the podium for the first time in twenty-five years. A girl arises from the audience with a question: Who was Luna?

The Luna of Fiona's most famous poetry inspired women to name their daughters Luna. And this
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Robin
This was a terrific novel filled with messy family dynamics and a bit of an unexpected twist at the end, and I loved every minute. This will be perfect for book groups and libraries should buy lots of copies for their patrons.

I agree with readers who said this perfect for readers of Chloe Benjamin's THE IMMORTALISTS and Hilma Wolitzer's THE INTERESTINGS, and would also add Lauren Groff's FATES AND FURIES and Cynthis Sweeney's THE NEST.

Thanks to the publisher for the advance reading copy.
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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
“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?”
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“The greatest works of poetry are the stories we tell about ourselves.” 8 likes
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