Note: This review was written just before the 6th variant of COVID-19 fully hit. I had more time in my hands.
5 stars +:
When I first started writing for this blog in 2008 I never thought for a minute that it would take me to undiscovered places like the work of Karen Swan, here. I was so committed to focusing on vintage trash to ever notice the more current authors being published. It only took me a trip abroad and a chance meeting with the cover of one of Swan’s booklist to change the course of my journey—a bit like the central character in Swan’s epic new offering, THE LAST SUMMER. Indeed, what happens to Effie Gillies, forced to face a future away from her beloved island, makes anyone willing to have an open mind discover uncharted territory. And I’m so glad I followed in the same footsteps, for Karen Swan (et al.) wouldn’t be in my literary circle hadn’t I done that. Now on to her latest release from Macmillan.
I’ll say it right away. THE LAST SUMMER is by far my favorite Karen Swan novel. Everything in it is amazing, from the very well-drawn characterization, to the rich and highly addictive narrative, not to mention the beautiful and envious setting of Scotland’s St Kilda (in the 1930s). The story focuses on Effie. She is a young and strong-willed highlander who ultimately leaves St Kilda to embark on a personal journey that will deviate from everything she has come to know. Of course she will find love and some unhappiness in this new world of hers. This novel is a departure from the author usual lighter repertoire. It is stronger, more grounded, and so much more rewarding in the end, in my opinion. Oh don’t get me wrong. You still get the same Karen Swan that we all know but with an extra edge. I still found myself turning the pages as fast as permitted and yearning for the next tome to materialize soon. Because, yes, there will be a next one. This is the first in a series. I hope THE LAST SUMMER is a bigger hit for Karen Swan, for she certainly deserves all the praises. My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this fantastic ARC.
THE LAST SUMMER is already available in Canada and in the US in hardcover. The rest of the world will have to wait in July, and that includes the digital version as well.
Until next post—Martin