Monday, 20 April 2015

Book Review: The Last Pier by Roma Tearne

Title: The Last Pier
Author: Roma Tearne
Published: 10th April 2015
Publisher: Nova 


I found Roma Tearne's The Last Pier a fascinatingly haunting tale set in the summer before the second world war. We are thrown straight into a tragedy, but only given snippets as to what has actually happened. Focusing on then 13 year old Cecily we transported back to the time before the tragedy and after to the 1960's when Cecily is forty years old.

Roma Tearne's writing is utterly beautiful. She manages to capture the atmosphere and emotions of each character so perfectly, I was completely swept away. I could really picture and feel the heat of that summer. Roma also effortlessly transports us between the 1930's and the 1960's. You can also really see the change in Cecily all those years later. What also keeps this story going is this want of discovering what had happened that caused the major shift and devastation to the Maudsley family. Roma constantly hints at it, causing a deeper need to read on.

Cecily is a character that you can't by deeply empathise with. She is desperate to grow up and constantly in her sister Rose's shadow. There is also the sense that she is loved less by her Mother and is considered a nuisance and the opening scene fuels your curiosity into the part that she played in the tragedy. The other characters that I really loved were the Italian Molinellos; the ice cream shop owners who I thought brought some light and laughter into Suffolk.

Everytime I read historical fiction surrounding the second world war, I find I always learn something new and this was exactly the case for The Last Pier. I had not consdiered what would happen to the Italian and German citizens living in Britain and it was frustrating and sad to read. I think Roma also really captured the atmpsohere leading up to the declaration of war and how everyone was trying to carry on as normal, but the wireless was always on in the background with updates as to what was happening. This was made to feel even more real by Roma putting in snippets from announcements that were made during that time.

The mystery element, the unravelling of secrets and Roma's superb writing are what make The Last Pier an engrossing read. A definite read for fans of historical fiction too,

A fascinating, haunting tale that stayed with me long after I had turned the last page.


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