Have you read Commonwealth by Ann Patchett or Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng? Did you LOVE them?! Well I did, and my next best read was The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin.
The Last Romantics follows the Skinner siblings: fierce Renee, dreamy Caroline, golden boy Joe and watchful Fiona. It’s a story of a summer spent careless and free in their small Connecticut town—due to losing their father to a heart attack and their mother going into a deep, paralyzing depression—an event that they call “the Pause.”
The story is narrated by the youngest sibling, Fiona Skinner, who—nearly a century after “the Pause”—has become a renowned poet. When she’s asked about the inspiration behind her iconic work, The Love Poem, she tells her audience a story about her family and betrayal, spanning five decades.
“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 ate for dinner last night and what we’ve read and watched and witnessed. Longing and regret, illness, broken bones, broken hearts, achievements, money won and lost, palm readings and visions. We tell these stories until we believe them.”
It’s a story of sex and affection, sacrifice and selfishness, deeply held principles and dashed expectations, a lost engagement ring, a squandered baseball scholarship, unsupervised summers at the neighborhood pond, and an iconic book of love poems. But most of all it is just a story of Renee, Caroline, Joe and Fiona: the way they love and support each other, the ways they grow together and apart, and the ways they betray each other both consciously and not. And moreover, what they will do for love.
The emotion in this novel is so forefront and realistic, you won’t want to stop reading (not to mention the underlying mystery that keeps you flipping the pages!). As the Skinner siblings grow up dealing with the death of their father and their absent mother, you see the effects this has on one devoted, entirely imperfect family.
I am SO excited for you to pick up this book, Savvy Readers! I can pretty much guarantee that it is one of the most touching, tender novels about our most precious and dangerous attachment: family, that you’ll read this year.
If you enjoyed Tara’s first novel, The House Girl, then The Last Romantics definitely won’t let you down (and vice versa, if you’ve already read The Last Romantics and are looking for more!). But if you’re also a lover of literary fiction, or family fiction like The Interestings and Little Fires Everywhere, and are picking up Tara’s work for the first time, you’re going to fall head over heels!
We cannot wait to hear what you think about one of our favourite new books! Tell us on Twitter @SavvyReader or in the comments below.
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