Author: Vanessa Ronan
Published: 5th May 2016
Publisher: Penguin Ireland
I love a book that intrigues me and makes me want to read it and The Last Days of Summer was exactly this.
With Jasper's release from prison and returning to his small town in Texas, I was constantly left in suspense as to what it was that he had done. What was so terrible that the townspeople despised his return so much? With the constant narrative movement between characters we slowly start to learn more about Jasper and the other people that they interact with. Each of their emotions was palpable and you get a very intricate insight into each of their thinkings and feelings very well. I felt like I knew their every secret, their every desire and exactly who they were.
There was something close and claustrophobic about reading this and this was further emphasised by the blistering heat and humidity of where the book is set. It was a lot darker that I had anticipated and the author leaves very little to the imagination in her descriptions, it's explicit in it's detailing. Vanessa is brilliant at creating not only a vivid setting, but a palpable one, I felt like I was right there in Texas in amongst the characters and you could sense the tension between them.
What I found as well was that not knowing what Jasper had done initially made him a very hard character to judge. At times I felt almost sorry for him and the way that he wanted to avoid trouble. Like his twelve year old niece Joanna, who also knows nothing about what he did, you will find yourself torn. I liked the not knowing though as it compels you to read on and I found myself consumed by the story as I was reading.
A vivid and suspenseful debut from Vanessa Ronan.
Vanessa Ronan was born in Houston and in her 28 years has lived in Texas, Mexico, New York, Edinburgh, and Dublin, where she now lives with her Irish husband. Among other things, she has been a dancer, a PA, a barmaid, a literature student, a dance teacher, and now, a writer. Home-schooled by her literature teacher parents, Vanessa began writing as soon as she learned the alphabet. The Last Days of Summer is her first novel.
Find Vanessa on Twitter: https://twitter.com/vronan