The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin (Review by Madhura Mukhopadhyay)

1 min read

Rating: 5/5

Who is your character Luna based on? When an unexpected question catches renowned poetess Fiona Skinner off-guard at a poetry reading, she decides to tell her audience the story of her life. Weary with secrets, Fiona begins a story of grief and the failure of love.

Fiona’s voice takes us back a century to the spring of 1981, when the Skinner children – Renee, Caroline, Joe and Fiona face the abrupt death of their father. Bereft of their father and their mother, for the grief-stricken Antonia Skinner takes to her bed for several years, the Skinner children run feral. Nonetheless, bound by a common tragedy, the four siblings form close protective bonds – lifelines they will yank, slacken and tauten over the course of their entire lives.

The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin is a sweeping family saga spread out over a century. It is a wholly compelling story of the Skinner children as they progress from wild childhood, to reluctant adolescence and finally resigned adulthood. The characters in this book are flawed and damaged, beautiful and utterly human. Conklin’s writing is simple, wistful and nostalgic. Effortlessly, she evokes images of a simpler world, an easier world with blue skies, emerald pools and summer vacations.

What this book offers essentially is a treatise on grief. Faced with the senseless loss of their father, the Skinner children swear to protect each other. Decades later, faced once again with unexpected tragedy, the now-adult Skinners must reevaluate their promises and how far they are willing to go to fulfill them. The Last Romantics is also about love, blinding and beautiful love. It honors the undeniable bond between siblings – the most enduring of relationships – the witnesses to your entire life.

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