Book Review: The Last Days of Summer by Vanessa Ronan

May 3, 2016 Book review 6 ★★★

I kind of hate reviewing The Last Days of Summer by Vanessa Ronan as I have mixed feelings about it. So I’m just going to spew out what I loved and what I disliked with a huge disclaimer. I’m not the biggest fan of literary fiction so that has biased my opinion.


Book Review: The Last Days of Summer by Vanessa RonanThe Last Days of Summer by Vanessa Ronan
Published by Penguin UK on May 5th 2016
Genres: Emotions & Feelings, Family Life, Literary, Suspense
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from 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.

ARC REVIEW cover love CRIME Unique


First Line of The Last Days of Summer by Vanessa Ronan:

“July flies call in the humid evening, song thick as heat, rolling in uneven waves across the lawn to wash up tuneless on the front porch.”


What I Loved about The Last Days of Summer by Vanessa Ronan

  • Beautiful writing. I always admire words that are strung together in such a way that the words seem to sing and that is the feeling I got here.
  • Very atmospheric. I could feel the sun baking the prairie, feel the menace in the air, and all the unspoken words of the tight-lipped characters were screaming to be heard.
  • Sense of Danger: There is a secret at the heart of the book and we are left to guess for a lot of the book just what Jasper had done to end in prison for 10 years. I felt very tense as at times, I wanted to believe the best of Jasper and this made me really get into the head of his sister who felt the same.
  • Intriguing Characters: They are very believable and even though I have nothing in common with any of them, I felt I understood a little of just who they were.

So that all sounds great, right. But that’s not the full story for me and that’s leads me on to:


What I didn’t love so much about The Last Days of Summer by Vanessa Ronan:

  • Overly descriptive: It’s a slow, meandering book that is very heavily weighed down with descriptions. I think less would have been more. Yes they were beautiful, yes they added to the atmosphere but they also halted the progression of the plot for me.
  • Slow Pace: Caused by the above and this caused me to start skimming. Which makes me feel like a philistine when I’m reading such beautiful words. But I’m being honest, that’s what I ended up doing.


Overall the way I feel about this book is the way I feel about most literary fiction. I do appreciate it to a certain extent and like to read the occasional one but I wouldn’t like a stable diet of them.


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: three-stars


Who should read The Last Days of Summer by Vanessa Ronan?

I think this would work better if you are a fan of literary fiction. Also if you like descriptive writing and atmospheric reads, then you might also like this.


Thanks to Penguin Ireland for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.



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6 Responses to “Book Review: The Last Days of Summer by Vanessa Ronan”

  1. Maureen Beatrice

    This sounds like an interesting read. I also don’t read a lot of literary fiction so I know what you’re saying.
    Too bad this read was overly descriptive, I always feel sad when a book gets like that and I begin to feel like I just want the book to end.
    I really like the cover though, and the book description really sounds intriguing. I’ll keep this one in mind! 😉
    Maureen Beatrice recently posted…A Day in The Life of a Nurse

    • trish

      I think that overly descriptive goes hand in hand with literary fiction and it’s obviously not a problem for lots of people. I think I’m just impatient and want to get on with the plot! I love the cover too, it’s fab!

  2. Lola

    I don’t read a lot of literary fiction, I can’t really think of a book I’ve read that would fall into that category, so I think I am hesitant to pick those up.
    I know what you mean with how too much description can bog down the pace fo the story, it might be well written, but also very slow. Sometimes more is less. If I start skimming a book that’s usually a bad sign. I am glad to hear there were also parts of this book you did enjoy. The sense of danger does sound well done!
    Lola recently posted…Lola’s Advice: How to get reviewers to cross-post their reviews

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