The Last Word
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: July 9th 2019
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult
Set against the smoky, gaslit allure of Victorian London, this sweetly romantic historical debut is full of humor and stars a whip-smart female heroine ahead of her time.
Where one story ends, another begins.
1861. Miss Lucinda Leavitt is shocked when she learns the author of her favorite serialized novel has died before completing the story. Determined to learn how it ends, Lucinda reluctantly enlists the help of her father’s young business partner, Mr. David Randall, to track down the reclusive author’s former whereabouts.
David is a successful young businessman, but is overwhelmed by his workload. He wants to prove himself to his late father, as well as to himself. He doesn’t have the time, nor the interest, for this endeavor, but Lucinda is not the type to take no for an answer.
Their search for the elusive Mrs. Smith and the rightful ending to her novel leads Lucinda and David around the country, but the truths they discover about themselves—and each other—are anything but fictional.
Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, The Last Word by debut author Samantha Hastings is a fun yet intellectual romp through Victorian London—the perfect book for book-lovers.
Lucinda Leavitt has just returned home from finishing school. Lucinda's mother died when she was young and Lucy has grown up at her father's countinghouse where she learned how to help with the books and complete sums quickly in her head. After finishing school, Lucy would like to have a job at the countinghouse, however, she is now expected to spend her days as a lady- working on stitching, attending parties and generally wasting the day away. One of Lucy's pleasures after finishing school is reading her favorite serialized novel, but the issue that the ending of the story should be in instead contains a note that the author has died and the story is left unfinished. With a renewed purpose in life, Lucy begins the hunt for deceased author B. Smith's final words of the story. Although, a proper lady cannot go about with her chaperone and a man to guide her, so she enlists her sleepy chaperone Mrs. Patton and childhood friend and father's business partner, David for the adventure. While tracking down B. Smith, Lucy proves to others and herself that she is much stronger than she believes.
The Last Word is a fun, young adult, Victorian romance with a strong female lead. Lucy is a magnetic personality from the start, wanting to defy all of the female norms for women in 1861. Her determination to use her intelligence to work, find the end of her story and be more than a lady who sits around until she finds a husband is immediately captivating. I absolutely loved the idea of the adventure to find the last words of B. Smith's story, I know that this would be something that bothered me as well. I was even more pleased to find out that B. Smith's story was based on the real unfinished work of Elizabeth Gaskell. Lucy's quest brought her on a journey through many Victorian-era homes and people of the time. David was a perfect travelling companion for Lucy and I enjoyed watching their friendship turn to romance through their many swoon-worthy moments together. David's respect for Lucy and his understanding of her intelligence and strength makes them a perfect pair. In addition, I enjoyed the historical aspects of the novel, the culmination of the story with the Tooley Street Fire and the impacts it had on the area as well as the introduction of Bloomers to society and the practice of wealthy American women marrying into English families for titles make an appearance as well. Overall, a charming Victorian romance with a fiercely determined heroine who will make her own last words.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Samantha Hastings has degrees from Brigham Young University, the University of Reading (Berkshire, England), and the University of North Texas. She met her husband in a turkey sandwich line. They live in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she spends most of her time reading, eating popcorn, and chasing her kids. The Last Word is her debut novel.
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