The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin

The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin

The Last Romantics.jpg

The Last Romantics
by Tara Conklin
Hardcover, 368 pages
William Morrow (February 5, 2019)
Advance copy provided by publisher

I’m not sure why I love stories that include the exploration of relationships between siblings: maybe because I only have one sibling, and we’re not close in age, so I wonder what life would be like with multiple siblings; maybe because I miss my brother (we’ve been estranged for a number of years) and I long for that familial connection, to remember the years we spent together. Nevertheless, Tara Conklin’s latest release, The Last Romantics, more than fulfilled this need; I could hardly tear myself away, once I started reading.

It was as though the care we had shown each other as children had been revealed as faulty, flawed, riddled with holes. Now we avoided any interaction that reminded us of what we once had assumed ourselves to be.

Since I loved her debut, The House Girl, I was eager to discover a new story but worried my expectations might not be reasonable; thankfully. Conklin’s writing in this novel evoked a similarly powerful emotional response. The novels are completely different - time periods, plots and themes - which helps showcase Conklin’s unwavering talent. Her characters are painstakingly created; I fell in love with Fiona and her siblings as they took care of one another after their father’s death, a period they refer to as “The Pause,” when their mother was too grief-stricken to participate in life’s activities and responsibilities.

For many years love seemed to me not something that enriched or emboldened but a blind hole into which you fell, and in the falling you forgot what it was to live in your own light.

While the themes in this novel are serious ones, the story did not feel excessively “heavy,” to me; I loved its authenticity and the occasional injections of humor. I have seen this novel compared to another favorite of mine, Commonweath by Ann Patchett, and I think that’s a great comparison title; highly recommend to fans of family dramas with beautiful, heartfelt writing.

March 2019

March 2019

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