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The Last Romantics

by Tara Conklin

The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin X
The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin
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  • Published Feb 2019
    368 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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There are currently 46 member reviews
for The Last Romantics
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  • Jennie R. (Highland, CA)
    I devoured this story within a couple of days and was sorry to come to the end. It is a riveting tale of the complicated and tangled relationships that exist in a family, especially when loss and depression feature in such an enormous way. Each of the Skinners had an endearing characteristic and I grew to care for them all. What really hit home for me was that we never really know what’s going on in someone else’s head, even if we feel we’re as close to them as we can possible be. Tara Conklin is definitely on my favorite author list with this one.
  • Barbara F. (Santa Monica, CA)
    “The Last Romantics” gets an A
    “The Last Romantics” is an engrossing novel about four siblings and the profound impact on their young lives by their parents. Though I was ambivalent after reading the prologue, by the end of chapter one, I was pretty hooked. This family saga follows the Skinner siblings through a very difficult childhood into adulthood, where they’re once again challenged by a family crisis. The incident offers them a chance to confront their relationship with one another and focus on what truly matters most for each of them. The book will appeal to bibliophiles drawn to character-driven stories of complicated and interesting characters—siblings who love one another as they maneuver through their lives—replete with struggles and betrayals. Provocative and riveting, this beautifully-written novel challenges us to explore our definition of love.
  • Ginny from TX
    It was a good book but had issues the bothered me
    I had a great deal of uncertainty about how to write my review of this book. I could have begun it by telling about what I liked or instead what I did not like although you can tell by my rating that I felt obliged to give it a rather high rating overall. Actually, I probably felt more intense about one thing that made me uncomfortable about the book. So I will start there.
    I really wondered why, with what I considered a unique story line, the author felt obliged to include mention at the beginning and the end of the story something that infers a lack of faith in the ability of humans to solve problems. This bothered me. I have the most unrealistic wish – and that is that my grandchildren will have an opportunity to experience life in a state of innocence and naivety as I did – which I know is entirely impossible due to computers and TV and atom bombs. Of course, they would face medical problems and lack the luxuries that I now take for granted but my parents only had to worry about keeping food on our table and did not worry about me being kidnapped to become a sex slave. It is my deepest wish that 60 years from today (2079) my grandchildren or my great grandchildren (neither of which exist today) will not have to live close to a bomb or missile shelter because we earthlings are at war with somebody. The author wisely did not elaborate on the nature of why the sirens were sounding – were we afraid of our neighbors or of UFO’s? Anyway – as far as I am concerned, I cannot say I really enjoyed the book with that worry in the back of my mind.
    To balance that objection, I can say I really did enjoy the author’s writing style. Although the middle of the book sort of dragged a bit – I like what I will describe as her folksy style of writing. Her sentences do not go on and on for a whole paragraph – and her vocabulary matched mine – I am neither a Neanderthal nor a rocket scientist.
    The book traces the mother and her 4 children through a lifetime – actually a lifetime plus. The narrator is over 100 and still seemingly active in life when the story ends. In following these individuals through their life we read about almost all the various kinds of love that humans enjoy. The only variety of love that I did not identify was agape love – the love that demands nothing of your partner. There was fraternal love, maternal love, erotic love, and occasionally brotherly love although the brotherly love often had strings attached. It does not, thankfully, become involved in the popular plot lines of homosexuality or transgender issues – or at least if it did I was not astute enough to recognize it.
    And while it does involve explicit sex, although there was ample opportunity for the author to gain another audience if she had chosen to do it, nor did the author resort to trash talk. Thank you, MS Conklin for those choices.
    Finally, I will admit that I had finished reading the whole book and decided to take time to review the thoughts of another reader before I realized that the Skinner siblings grew up as part of a dysfunctional family. When I realized it – I gave myself a “thunk” on the head and wondered how I had missed it. And one of their problems in life is that they were seemingly afraid to have open communication. That will be a subject I may want to go back and re-visit because I usually have no problems hearing those alarms as I read the book.
    The story is told through the voice of Fiona, the youngest of the 4 siblings in the Skinner family from 1981 for the next 90 years, and spans decades as the siblings navigate through their childhood and adulthood and the events that shape them. As we go through the book the story branches out and we delve into the adult life of the each of the narrator’s siblings. They all face problems of some sort – either in forming relationships or becoming addicted to some sort of activity.
    I appreciate the opportunity given to me by the publisher to give an honest review of this book.
  • Janine S. (Wyoming, MI)
    Lovely, lyrical, intriguing novel
    The Last Romantics is a lovely, lyrical story well worth the reading. The author has a magical ability to pull you into the story of the Skinner family as told by the youngest member, Fiona. The twists and turns within the story compel you to read on because this family just becomes a part of you. The author has the ability to make you like her characters while recognizing their flaws but because there is such a intriguing charm to them all you are constantly pulled into them that even having to stop reading makes you want to get back to them as soon as possible. And structuring the story about "what happened" adds to the strength of this book. I loved this book! I highly recommend it.
  • Michelle A. (Elmwood, IL)
    The Last Romantics
    I have been anxiously awaiting this book since I read The House Girl in 2013 and loved it! I enjoyed this book about a family of four siblings, their mother & the others in their lives. I liked the complex relationships that the siblings have with each other and their mother. I felt like most people would be able to connect to some trait of at least one of the characters. The death of their father makes a lasting impression on each of the siblings in a different way. There are many emotional moments in the book.
  • Susan T. (Bahama, NC)
    Good read
    I enjoyed this novel. I liked how the author explored how a two year break in just about any responsible parenting, known as "the Pause", affected each sibling differently and also affected their relationships with each other over the course of their lives. The story of the siblings is being told by the youngest, Fiona, late in her life, to an audience, while some kind of environmental crisis is occurring outside the auditorium. Thus was the only thing that I found a bit out of place. The interjection of climate change into the story--both through Fiona's job and the setting for the story-telling seemed somewhat random. Overall though, I found it to be interesting and worth the read.
  • Christine D. (Oregon, WI)
    The Last Romantics
    The Last Romantics spans the years from 1981 when the narrator, Fiona Skinner, was four years old until 2079. Fiona and her siblings survived a traumatic childhood after the death of their father, when their mother virtually ignored them for several years. This is the story of those years and their growth into adulthood.


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