Author: Karen Swan
Series: The Wild Isle #1
Published by: Pan Macmillan on May 3, 2022
Genres: Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction
Format: ARC, Paperback
Source: Publishers Group Canada
Book Rating: 10/10
When the residents of St Kilda ask to be evacuated from their remote island home in the summer of 1930, it’s in search of a better life on mainland Scotland compared to the scratch existence on their mountain in the sea.
For eighteen-year-old tomboy Effie Gillies, it’s a bittersweet departure. She’s the best young climber on the island, as skilled and brave as any of the men. But it is Effie’s expansive knowledge of local bird life that leads her to take up a position as curator of Dumfries House’s ornithological collection – and back into the arms of Lord Dumfries’ son and heir, Sholto.
During her last summer on St Kilda, Effie had been Sholto’s guide, and their attraction had seemed irresistible. But, in the glamorous polite society of Ayrshire, it is clear they are worlds apart. When a body is discovered on the island, soon after the evacuation, a scandal erupts as Effie is implicated. Sholto knows she’s keeping secrets – but are they even her own?
The Last Summer is the first in an epic, sweeping historical series by Sunday Times bestseller Karen Swan, set in and around the Scottish island of St Kilda.
Enthralling, mysterious, and romantic!
The Last Summer is an absorbing tale that sweeps you away to 1930 and into the life of Effie Gillies, an eighteen-year-old girl who, along with her family and closest friends, is one of thirty-six inhabitants of the isolated St. Kilda archipelago who is content with her isolated existence, living a simple life amongst the birds and the cliffs, until things start to get a little more complicated and she falls for a man way above her station, the government decides to evacuate the island villagers to the mainland, she takes on a new job curating the ornithological collection of Lord Dumfries, the father of the man who stole her heart, and the deserted island is left with more than just empty dwellings and whispered secrets, but the body of a man who wasn’t all that kind or liked and had more than one person who wished him dead.
The writing is eloquent and vivid. The characters are hardy, resilient, and brave. And the plot is an alluring tale of life, loss, family, friendship, community, intrigue, mystery, drama, expectations, angst, social division, heartbreak, and love.
Overall, The Last Summer is a beautifully written, incredibly atmospheric, brilliant start to a new series by Swan that I absolutely devoured, highly recommend, and is hands down one of my favourite reads of the year.
This book is available now.
Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.
Thank you to PGC Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.