The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin
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.
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.
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.