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Publisher's Summary

When the Black Death enters England through the port in Dorsetshire in June 1348, no one knows what manner of sickness it is - or how it spreads and kills so quickly. The Church cites God as the cause, and fear grips the people as they come to believe that the plague is a punishment for wickedness.

But Lady Anne of Develish has her own ideas. Educated by nuns, Anne is a rarity among women, being both literate and knowledgeable. With her brutal husband absent from the manor when news of this pestilence reaches her, she looks for more sensible ways to protect her people than daily confessions of sin. She decides to bring her serfs inside the safety of the moat that surrounds her manor house, then refuses entry to anyone else, even her husband.

Lady Anne makes an enemy of her daughter and her husband’s steward by doing so, but her resolve is strengthened by the support of her leading serfs...until food stocks run low. The nerves of all are tested by continued confinement and ignorance of what is happening in the world outside. The people of Develish are alive. But for how long? And what will they discover when the time comes for them to cross the moat again?

Compelling and suspenseful, The Last Hours is a riveting tale of human ingenuity and endurance set against the worst pandemic in history. In Lady Anne of Develish - leader, savior, heretic - Walters has created her most memorable heroine to date.

©2018 Minette Walters (P)2018 W.F. Howes

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

This is part 1! It’s a series!

Audible gave no indication that this book is actually part of a series.
It literally ends with “to be continued...”
So, if you’re looking for a complete story, look elsewhere.

It’s not a bad story, little heavy on the “do they love each other secretly???” bits, but they aren’t overwhelming and certainly aren’t the focus.

It’s an alright plague novel, but I can say I won’t be reaching for the sequel.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Out with a whimper!

The thing I've always loved about Minette Walters, is that she invariably shocks me on the last page ....and she did it again! Only THIS time, she shocked not with a revelation, but with the fact that the story ends .....abruptly .....just at what seemed to be the arc of the storyline.
There is a part two ...and now I will HAVE to get it, or remain forever in the dark about what happened next.
For me the story cantered along nicely, got into a gallop ....and then threw me over the fence with no resolution. How frustrating!
Great story though. Terrific reading by Helen Keeley.
This book would've received full marks, if only Minette had been kind enough to end the story just a bit later in the tale.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Well written historical fiction

This audiobook is pure gold to listen to and to imagine the contents of the history involved. Anything written by Minette Walters is worth listening to.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Cariola
  • Chambersburg, PA USA
  • 08-31-18

Action Packed (maybe a little too much)

t's 1348, and the plague has started to spread throughout England. No one knows the cause or the cure, let alone any means of prevention, and distrust of strangers abounds. Lady Anne of Devilish is left in charge when her husband leaves the manor, contracts the disease, and dies. She feels tremendous empathy for the local peasants and uses her knowledge of herbal medicine and her wits to help preserve them from both the plague and the marauders taking advantage of their desperate situation--which is more than can be said of the local priest, a drunkard who lets the young people use the church for sexual rendezvous. On top of everything else, Lady Anne has to deal with her haughty daughter Eleanor, a nasty daddy's girl who never lets anyone forget her superior bloodline. Thankfully, Lady Anne has two trusted servants, her maid Isabel and Isabel's brother, Thaddeus.

If you like a lot of adventure thrown into your historical fiction, then this is the book for you. I found it a little too dramatic and convoluted and the characters a bit too stereotypical. That said, I stuck with it and really liked the character of Lady Anne, plus the book moves at a good pace with a number of twists and turns along the way. I listened to the book on audio, and after 15-1/2 hours, I was rather disappointed that the conclusion was, "To be continued." I'm not sure if I will read the next installment, but we'll see.

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    5 out of 5 stars

I was sad when it ended......

Shades of Ken Follet and Pillars of the Earth series. It took me a couple chapters to "tune in" to the medieval language the accent, and to hooked iinto the story. But after that I was hooked and couldn't put it down. I stayed up too many late nights, not wanting to fall asleep, while I listened! The only consolation when it ended was that there would be sequels. I could tell that as the story developed, as I could see many story lines to be pursued.