The Last Romantics

The Last Romantics

by Tara Conklin

Overview: 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 the Pause: a free and feral summer in a middle-class Connecticut town. Caught between the predictable life they once led and an uncertain future that stretches before them, the Skinner siblings—fierce Renee, sensitive Caroline, golden boy Joe and watchful Fiona—emerge from the Pause staunchly loyal and deeply connected. Two decades later, the siblings find themselves once again confronted with a family crisis that tests the strength of these bonds and forces them to question the life choices they’ve made and ask what, exactly, they will do for love.

A sweeping yet intimate epic about one American family, The Last Romantics is an unforgettable exploration of the ties that bind us together, the responsibilities we embrace and the duties we resent, and how we can lose—and sometimes rescue—the ones we love. A novel that pierces the heart and lingers in the mind, it is also a beautiful meditation on the power of stories—how they navigate us through difficult times, help us understand the past, and point the way toward our future.

Faith Bowers (06/05/19): It is very gratifying to see an author become so a much better writer as early as their second novel. Ms. Conklin takes us on a journey of loss first and then love. The characters are well developed as much by what is not said as what is written. I usually don’t like novels with missing pieces but this was so well written that was is not mentioned can be assumed. Therefore the writing is concise and descriptive simultaneously.

It is written mostly in the first person by the youngest who becomes a writer. She writes as if a story from 80 years ago using a reading in 2079 as a starting point. One of my favorite paragraphs allows you to see how much I enjoyed this book. “that the greatest works of poetry, what make each of us a poet are true 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 watched and witnessed. Longing and regret, illness, broken bones, broken hearts, achievements, money won and lost, palm reading and visions. We tell these stories until we believe them, we believe in ourselves, and that is the most powerful thing of all. .
Rating: *****

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