The Last Romantics

A Novel
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1,044 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of The House Girl comes a novel about our most precious and dangerous attachment: family.

In the spring of 1981, the young Skinner siblings - fierce Renee, dreamy Caroline, golden-boy Joe, and watchful Fiona - lose their father to a heart attack and their mother to a paralyzing depression, events that thrust them into a period they will later call “the Pause”. Caught between the predictable life they once led and an uncertain future that stretches before them, the siblings navigate the dangers and resentments of the Pause to emerge fiercely loyal and deeply connected. 

Two decades later, the Skinners find themselves again confronted with a family crisis that tests the strength of these bonds and forces them to question the life choices they’ve made and what, exactly, they will do for love.

Narrated nearly a century later by the youngest sibling, the renowned poet Fiona Skinner, The Last Romantics spans a lifetime. It’s a story of sex and affection, sacrifice and selfishness, deeply held principles and dashed expectations, a lost engagement ring, a squandered baseball scholarship, unsupervised summers at the neighborhood pond, and an iconic book of love poems. But most of all, it is the story of Renee, Caroline, Joe, and Fiona: the ways they support each other, the ways they betray each other, and the ways they knit back together bonds they have fractured.

In the vein of Commonwealth, Little Fires Everywhere, and The Nest, this is a panoramic, tenderly insightful novel about one devoted, imperfect family. The Last Romantics is an unforgettable exploration of the responsibilities we bear both gracefully and unwillingly and the all-important, ever-complex definition of love.

©2019 Tara Conklin (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One of the best.

I downloaded this book because of Jenna Bush Hager and I am so happy I did! What a wonderful love story that travels through decades and the closeness that a family feels for each other whether together or apart.

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Maybe the best book I ever read

I am not a reader of romance novels Please do not mistake this book for a genetic love story. This book is an autobiography of every family headed by a strong woman. In reading this book you are a visitor that's allowed to share their story as they grow & change and negotiate their lives thru the struggles any family goes thru lifetimes of experiences.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Boring

Long winded with no plot. Narrator does this annoying switch to child a like voice for all dialogues for grown up women. Very odd

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great story...even better narrator

I always will look at at a book that Cassandra Campbell has narrated, she is one of my favorites, and I think does such a great job with any story. The same was true here. The story caught my attention from the beginning, the story of the 4 siblings and their unusual upbringing, and how it affected them throughout their lives. I really enjoyed the story, with one caveat I felt as though it really floundered a little bit after "the accident" (don't want to give away spoilers). It was almost metaphorical..the siblings floundered after the accident, and so did the book. However, it did recover nicely, and I thought wrapped things up overall by the end. The setting of the older Fiona giving a lecture in the future I thought was a bit irrelevant. It brought nothing to the story, but always giving the expectation that some big "reveal" was going to happen, but never did. I think telling the story as a memoir point of view would have been fine. Overall, the story was very good, and the narrator was superb, definitely give this one a try!

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

I promised myself to finish every book I start

Can't remember the last book I found this boring. Thank goodness audible allows listener to speed up narration. My synopsis of book, dysfunctional mother raises excuse ridden dysfunctional children. 3 Sister having unnatural love of idolized difunctional brother. All characters blame others for their own sorry life. Now just drag it out, and on, and on.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good if you take the political view points out.

I wasn't sure if I really like this book or not. It started out a little jumbled and I couldn't figure out where the author was trying to go. The story finally took off and was actually about the story of a family; three girls and one boy. This story was told by the youngest sister and had some very good moments. The girls and boy grew up in the 1980's, lived through the 90's and 2000's. This part of the story was very entertaining, if you want to call it that because I could relate to their experiences and relationships, being a child of the 1980's too. Throughout the story, the hardships of the siblings and the ins and outs of their lives was both happy and sad, easy and difficult to hear but all in all a good story.

Why the 3 stars? Well, in my opinion, this story could have been told without the liberal ideas of global warming. There were enough jibes throughout that turned me away from really enjoying the story. It's like when a movie shows nudity that doesn't pertain to the actual story; so goes the global warming stuff in this one. Anyway, enough of my rant.

The narration was very good and it was soothing to listen to Ms. Campbell's voice. I will listen to more of her narrations but this might be a one-and-done for reading more from Ms. Conklin.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Shallow development of the inner characters

Nothing new here, no discovery or enrichment. What difference did it make to know outward appearances. Character development is left to the reader's imagination.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I love Cassandra Campbell.

She was wonderful in Lilac Girls and Where The Crawdads Sing and equally good in this. I think I would not have enjoyed the book as much if I had read instead of listening.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Overdone.

Overdone. Melodramatic. Needed another edit. Boring and repetitive. Don't bother. I don't understand the good reviews. Pass on this one.

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Beautiful love story

Lots of surprises in this story, just when I thought I knew what would happen next—I was greeted with another twist or secret. Great story line and very touching