The Last Summer, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


1914, a long hot summer. THE LAST SUMMER is a sweepingly epic and gloriously intimate commercial debut - a beautiful and haunting story of lost innocence and a powerful, enduring love. Clarissa is almost seventeen when the spell of her childhood is broken.

It is 1914, the beginning of a blissful, golden summer - and the end of an era.

Deyning Park is in its heyday, the large country house filled with the laughter and excitement of privileged youth preparing for a weekend party.

When Clarissa meets Tom Cuthbert, home from university and staying with his mother, the housekeeper, she is dazzled.

Tom is handsome and enigmatic; he is also an outsider.

Ambitious, clever, his sights set on a career in law, Tom is an acute observer, and a man who knows what he wants.

For now, that is Clarissa. As Tom and Clarissa's friendship deepens, the wider landscape of political life around them is changing, and another story unfolds: they are not the only people in love.

Soon the world - and all that they know - is rocked by a war that changes their lives for ever.


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Clarissa Granville is a naïve dreamy girl who has lived an idyllic and isolated childhood at Deyning Park, the family’s estate in the English countryside. “The Last Summer” begins in 1914 when she is sixteen years old and falling in love with Tom Cuthbert, the housekeeper’s son. An innocent summer of romance and parties ends with the beginning of World War One, when Tom and Clarissa’s brothers ship out to the battlefields. The narrative unfolds over the next sixteen years - from the horrors of war and the crumbling of England’s class structure to a country recovering from war and a changed society with independent women. First and foremost, though, this is Clarissa and Tom’s story. The intoxicating days of first love. The reality that they cannot be together because of their different backgrounds. The miscommunications and the misunderstandings. The choices that lead them in different directions and the force of destiny that keeps bringing them together again.“The Last Summer” is one of those odd books that floats in that grey area between literature and genre fiction. It’s well written, but really it’s a simple book with a rather predictable plot and conventional characters. There’s something compelling about that simplicity, though...something unexpectedly captivating about a happy-ever-after love story. I have to confess that the time I spent with Clarissa and Tom was an unexpected delight.