4.5 stars The Last Romantics is about love Real love, true love Imperfect, wretched, weak love No fairy tales, no poetry It is about the negotiations we undertake with ourselves in the name of loveThis is the story of four siblings Renee, Caroline, Joseph, and Fiona Skinner When their unexpectedly dies when they are young children, their mother goes into a deep depression that they deem the Pause The four siblings must learn to survive on their own and, in doing so, form a deep, unbreakable bond The book covers trials and tribulations they experience over the course of a century, told primarily through Fiona s eyes Throughout their lives, they suffer through great tragedies and hardships, and although they fight and have their issues, their love for one another never wanes.While told primarily through Fiona s POV, beginning in the year 2079 and alternating back to the past, the reader gets to see a complete picture of each of the sibling s lives The Last Romantics is a beautifully written tribute to the love between these four siblings It is an emotional and touching read At times, it is heart wrenching but as a reader, I was able to find comfort knowing that the Skinner siblings were always there for one another Conklin s writing is what sets this book from other novels about familial love Her writing is nuanced and carefully crafted She made me feel like I knew each of the Skinner children While the plot is one I have seen before, Conklin tells this story in a different way Perhaps, it is Fiona s list of words or the oft mentioned, but never fully revealed The Love Poem, or something else entirely that propels this book to another level and leaves the reader with a thought provoking take on loveThere is nothing romantic about love Only the most naive believe it will save them Only the hardiest of us will surviveI received an ARC of this book from Edelweiss and William Morrow in exchange for an honest review. A family saga that spans a century A story of sibling relationships, how they grow close due to a family situation, come apart, and finally come together again, albeit not the same Conklin does an excellent job looking into her characters lives with a keen insight and a generosity towards the flaws each holds within The pacing is terrific, despite the time period it covers it never feels rushed Fiona, the youngest sister is our narrator, and her experiences as the youngest in a family of four seems authentic and real Although I m not quite sure that she should have the knowledge she has towards what the others are thinking and seeing That is the only minor quibble I have, though it is effective.There are a few unexpected twists, roadblocks thrown in here and there, the things many of us have to deal with a times Ultimately, this is a novel about love, what we survive, what we forgive and what we pretend not to know to spare another It is about growing and reacting to the situations we experience There is happiness, sadness, challenges, all the things of which life and family are made I enjoyed this, though the ending was a little emotional that I would have liked But like life, perfection is not always possible and I enjoyed these characters very much For many years loved seemed to me not something that enriched or emboldened but a blind hole into which you fell, and in the falling you forgot what it was to live in your own light ARC from Edelweiss. The heartbreaking times during the Pause for the four Skinner children is tempered only by the love they have for each other and the care they give to each other This time during their mother s paralyzing grief over the loss of their father, when all they had was each other will break your heart but uplift you with the strength and love of these children After three years of debilitating depression, their mother Noni, finally lifts herself back with the help of a relative All of them are forever changed Their story is told by Fiona, the youngest of the siblings when late in her life at 102, she is speaking about the poetry she has written and published and is asked about her inspiration She says that this is a story about the failures of love and there are some failures, but this story for me was mostly about when love didn t fail As with a lot of families, there are secrets and while they are always there for each other, these siblings sometimes keep things from each other, about who they are, about things that happen because they want to protect each other The bonds from their childhood are still strong later in their lives and when things happen to estrange them at times, they always come together These are characters that I didn t want to leave behind because Tara Conklin allows the reader to be intimately involved in their lives for such a long time I m not going to give details about them or their story because they need to be discovered by whoever reads this.I chose to read this because I really enjoyed Tara Conklin s first novel, The House Girl This was a very different story, but I looked back to see what I said about her first novel I said it was beautifully written and emotional and I can say the say about this one which I also highly recommend I received an advanced copy of this book from William Morrow HarperCollins through Edelweiss. Romantic love, friendly love, familial love, unconditional love, committed love, practical love and self love The Greeks had words for these ways of loving Eros, Philia, Storge, Agape, Ludus, Pragma, and Philautia This book is about love in all its forms Love that stretches, binds, breaks, is betrayed and brought back together These characters either pursue or embody the various forms of love throughout their lives A poet, in the not too distant future, tells the story behind her work, The Love Poem, which is the decades long story of her family after a two year long event the siblings call The Pause This event binds the siblings tightly together Reminiscent of The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, I was riveted. At the risk of being overzealous, this book is everything The Last Romantics is the story of four siblings and their love Fiona Skinner is a famous poet, and when she is asked what inspired her most well known work, The Love Poem, she shares the story of the four Skinner siblings, Joe, Caroline, Renee, and Fiona herself It all begins one wild summer in their Connecticut town what the siblings call The Pause Something occurs that changes their way of life, changes them, and they have to decide if they will emerge stronger, or will it break them apart Their sibling bond survives the challenge and grows even loyal Over two decades later, they will again be tested, and the Skinner siblings will have to decide what s most important to each of them.The Last Romantics stands all on its own as a wondrous work to which I deeply connected, but I have to mention it reminded me faintly of The Immortalists, a book I adored and still think about, in its epic portrayal of siblings, family, and love Overall, The Last Romantics is a glorious book from start to finish It s hard to put my finger on exactly what it is without giving it all away, so my best approximation is this book is an ode to sibling love And I think that is than enough Thank you to the publisher for the complimentary copy All opinions are my own My reviews can also be found on my blog www.jennifertarheelreader.com Audiobook.narrated by Cassandra Campbell..my first hoopla book Adding increased speed was ideal for listeningA few of my favorite books are centered around the exploration of siblings At times I was reminded of Where the Crawdads Sing , by Delia Owens, or Ann Packer s book The Children s Crusade , or The Interesting s , by Meg Wolitzer, or The Glass Castle , by Jeannette Walls, or The Immortalists , by Chloe Benjamin, or Commonwealth , by Ann Patchett I like all of these family sibling relationship stories The Last Romantics , by Tara Conklin, being no exception I have great childhood memories with my first cousins Shelly, Holly, Karen, and Moses.so I have a soft spot for books with 3 sisters 1 brother.In this story we have Caroline, Renee, Joe, and the youngest mostly narrator throughout , is Fiona.Cassandra Campbell is a skillful easy on the ears voice narrator mini famous in the Audiobook world,.she added greatness to this already wonderful novel.The Skinner siblings hardly had time to breathe before a new conflagration broke out Our heart breaks for the difficulties they endured especially when they were young children.yet I also loved the way these children all dealt with their obstacles THEY PLAYED LIKE REAL CHILDREN DO.A couple of my favorite scenes was when Joe taught Fiona to swim Their childhood playing in the outdoors the way neglected children do, reminds me of my own growing years I too, had the rug swept out from under me instantly when my father died and my mother cut herself off from my older sister and I Same for these children their father dies, and their mother is emotionally vacant for a few years anyway during what the siblings call The Pause period of their lives These kids were survivors They had to be I understood When they become adults we see the lifelong broken scars clearly whether successful or not.The one constant thread for these siblings is the love between them They shared something very unique growing up that only they knew first hand What makes this book exceptional, is that the prose is breathtaking lyrical and captivating The easing flow of the storytelling makes this a novel that s hard to put down I look forward to reading other books by Tara Conklin Beautiful bittersweet story.5 stars My one personal critique I think the title of this book might have been different Although I understand the tie in.it leaves a romantic visual of another type of story Regardless GREAT BOOK CHOICE The Greatest Works Of Poetry Are The Stories We Tell About Ourselves When The Renowned Poet Fiona Skinner Is Asked About The Inspiration Behind Her Iconic Work, The Love Poem, She Tells Her Audience A Story About Her Family And A Betrayal That Reverberates Through TimeIt Begins In A Big Yellow House, With A Funeral, An Iron Poker, And A Brief Variation Forever Known As The Pause A Free And Feral Summer In A Middle Class Connecticut Town Caught Between The Predictable Life They Once Led And An Uncertain Future That Stretches Before Them, The Skinner Siblings Fierce Renee, Sensitive Caroline, Golden Boy Joe And Watchful Fiona Emerge From The Pause Staunchly Loyal And Deeply Connected Two Decades Later, The Siblings Find Themselves Once 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 To Ask What, Exactly, They Are Willing To Do For Love A Sweeping Yet Intimate Epic About One American Family, The Last Romantics Is An Unforgettable Exploration Of The Ties That Bind Us Together, The Responsibilities We Embrace And The Duties We Resent, And How We Can Lose And Sometimes Rescue The Ones We Love A Novel That Pierces The Heart And Lingers In The Mind, It Is Also A Beautiful Meditation On The Power Of Stories How They Guide Us Through Difficult Times, Help Us Understand The Past, And Point The Way Toward Our Future This is the story of four siblings Renee 11, Caroline 8, Joe 7, and Fiona 4who s dad dies suddenly in 1981 The mom, Noni retreats to her bedroom in a paralyzing depression for a few years length of time which the children call The Pause and the bonds grow deep between the siblings as they look out and care for each other The story starts out in the future, where Fiona has become a renowned poet, and she looks back on their lives and it follows all of them throughout their relationships, marriages, births, deathsa good read. 3.7 stars.This book got nomination from Goodreads Choice Awards and it s not a bad reading but honestly after reading so much good fictions of this year and took a closer look to its competitors, I could honestly lower my point and gave three stars to this book Let s go back to my not updated my review The grief makes people who they are Sometimes its five stages force them behave irrationally and make them wrong choices Don t get me wrong, this book is not only about grief It is just a factor to shape a mother and four children s life When children s father passed away, their mother as they called Noni preferred to act like time has stopped as their children s expression , it is big pause stage Their brother Joe went back and forth between denial and anger Finally he chose the drugs for self destruction and ease his pain He never got over with his loss Three sisters showed different escapism ways Renee became strict and responsible one by being a doctor and saving lives Caroline chose domestic life, by quitting school and dedicating herself to her children, she chose to forget who she was And Fiona turned into herself a different version of Carrie Bradshaw for escaping from her own emotional feelings and belief of love till her last phone call with her brother that made her question her life I loved these people s stories and their character development I felt like I was reading a biography This book was so realistic but I was expecting to see emotions Maybe the name of the book and Fiona s choice to write love poems made me think I ll read about love instead of reading words about life, struggle and death Anyway, it s still good written book for the fans of family dramas and lifetime stories.This is good book but not excellent enough to be my best book choice 4.5 Stars.Thank you to the publisher William Morrow Harper Collins who provided an advance reader copy via Edelweiss This is a story about a family with four kids who live in the middle class town of Bexley, Connecticut It s 1981, and their father, Ellis Avery Skinner dies suddenly at the age of 34 while working on a patient in his dental practice Three months following his death, the family must move from their comfortable and stately yellow colonial to a gray one story ranch house six miles away in a less privileged part of town Their stay at home Mom Antonia known as Noni never realized that they had no reserves of money At this time, the oldest Renee was eleven, Caroline eight, Joe seven, and the youngestFionafour In the wake of her new circumstances, Mom Noni had a breakdown of sorts and retreated from all responsibility for her children, spending most of her time secluded in her bedroom A composed and sensible Renee assumed responsibility for her younger siblings This period of time would later be dubbed The Pause and would last a couple of years The children became feral, dirty wild things that summer and adopted the nearby pond as their magical place As the only boy, brother Joe was already treasured, but he soon became idolized even He had a natural born talent for baseball, an engaging personality and was physically attractive It was like he had a golden aura about him and great things were expected to come his way Renee was extremely responsible and was firmly focused on a medical career Caroline had a tendency to cry easily and seemed the most pliable Renee loved to escape in her books and had a flair for writing The Pause ends after an Aunt stays with the family for awhile, providing a strong and sensible adult presence that helps to pull Noni out of the abyss Noni becomes stronger, gets a job and from that point on stresses the importance of not relying upon a man for success With the drama of the father husband s death and the Mom s temporary breakdown in the past, the children are now older and pursing their own lives Now the conflict of the book settles upon the Godlike figure of Joe, whose life is not as charmed as previously thought There are struggles rippling throughout the years where the sisters attention must be directed towards the simmering problems with Joe Since The Pause , the sisters are constantly protecting their mother from any family strife that could trigger a mental relapse Fiona channels her literary prowess into a blog called The Last Romantic where she anonymously catalogues and critiques each of her sexual partners.This was a very engaging and interesting read spanning decades with distinctly different characters that have burrowed themselves into my heart Highly recommended.