Thursday, 5 May 2016

Review: The Last Days of Summer by Vanessa Ronan

Title: The Last Days of Summer
Author: Vanessa Ronan
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 384
Genres: Thriller, Suspense
Source: ARC from the publisher

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.
So many emotions were stirred to the surface for me after finishing this book. The writing style was just amazing - it was so richly detailed and atmospheric, I actually felt like I had stepped into a prairie small town in Texas. Jasper has just been released early from Huntsville penitentiary for good behaviour and he goes back to his childhood home to live with his sister, Lizzie and her two daughters, Katie and Joanne. The story starts slow and character driven which builds a fantastic sense of suspense and unease. Jasper's past crimes are purposely left vague and mysterious to the reader, building curiosity and sympathy for him.

Lizzie is prepared to heal her relationship with her brother and chooses to forgive him for his crimes but perhaps unsurprisingly the wider community of their small town, including Katie, are not so forgiving. Little Joanne is the only character that treats and accepts Jasper as a human being without judgement as she knows nothing of his past crimes. Loss of innocence and redemption are huge themes in this book and raise the question of whether someone can ever be redeemed when they have done terrible things.

The climax of this book felt like a punch to the stomach and just left me utterly shocked, I could never have predicted it. A brilliant suspenseful thriller, The Last Days of Summer is well worth the read.

I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher - I was not required to give a review, all opinions stated are entirely my own.

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