I was approved this book on NetGalley, and was very excited to start reading it, as I had heard many good things about it. Sadly, I was disappointed with what I read, so much so it took me just under 2 weeks to get through it, which is ridiculously long for me!
Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:
About The Book
‘The Last Days of Summer’ by Vanessa Ronan
She can forgive. They can’t forget.
After ten years in the Huntsville State Penitentiary, Jasper Curtis returns home to live with his sister and her two daughters. Lizzie does not know who she’s letting into her home: the brother she grew up loving or the monster he became.
Teenage Katie distrusts this strange man in their home but eleven-year-old Joanne is just intrigued by her new uncle.
Jasper says he’s all done with trouble, but in a forgotten prairie town that knows no forgiveness, it does not take long for trouble to arrive at their door.
The Last Days of Summer is a contemporary fiction novels its some levels of mystery and suspense throughout, though these are low until about 80% of the way into the book, which, in my opinion, is way too late to be introducing the reader to such emotion. Set in the US on the long-stretching prairie, the story explores Jasper Curtis’ release from a 10 year long prison sentence, and how he adapts to moving back home with his sister and her two daughters. He is unwelcome in his home town, even though his sister, Lizzie, is willing to forgive him and invite him in to stay. Katie, the eldest daughter, knows what her uncle did, and is not so taken to him as her younger sister Joanne is. Joanne and Jasper for a bond, she trusts him, partly because she has no idea what he did to end up in prison. The events throughout the book are told in third person, although the direction of view is changed from character to character. While the ending was fairly unpredictable, I maybe could have guessed some elements of what was going to happen. It was a climactic ending anyhow, I just wish more had happened throughout the book to capture and sustain my interest. The first three quarters of the book was very slow paced, it only really started to speed up once Jasper had told Joanne what crime he had committed all those years ago. However, everything was logically written and all threads added up in the end, which is always a good sign, even if the book wasn’t quite as enjoyable as expected.
My favourite character was definitely Joanne, because her characterisation was very well done throughout the whole story. Her connection with the other characters was interesting and the development from her naivety through to the too early, unwanted, womanhood in the end was well executed. The other characters felt quite real, there was nothing too unrealistic about them, but some characters where a bit flat and could have done with more of an introduction, such as Eddie Saunders, as he had quite a big part to play at the end of the book.
I was trying to guess what Jasper had done throughout the first parts of the book, and even though there were hints, there was never enough information for me to warrant a guess, I maybe could have done with some more subtle hints to start piecing something together, even if I arrive at completely different conclusion. My favourite part of the book was when stuff started to actually happen, as it started to grab my attention a bit more, I just wish stuff started to happen sooner! The final scenes were written well, with plenty of suspense and drama, and the part where Jasper finally tells Joanne the secret, the flashbacks that were merged into that worked really well. These final scenes also caused quite a bit of emotion, mainly boiling anger at what was happening.
I wouldn’t recommend reading this book unless you enjoy thrillers and have the absolute patience to wait until the last 50 pages or so for any action. If you are happy for a dry book up until that point then go ahead, but if you like a bit of happenings splattered throughout then this isn’t the book for you
My Rating: 2 Muffins out of 5
Where To Buy
If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):
Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)