I wasn’t expecting this, so it was a great surprise to open the package and find a copy of The Last Night by Cesca Major inside. I couldn’t wait to finish books that I was already committed to reading, so that I could start reading this book. Regular followers of my blog may guess why I had such high expectations, since I really enjoyed Cesca’s first novel The Silent Hours.
This is what it says on the back cover.
In a quiet coastal village, Irina spends her days restoring furniture, passing the time in peace and hiding away from the world. A family secret, long held and never discussed, casts a dark shadow and Irina chooses to withdraw into her work. When an antique bureau is sent to her workshop, the owner anonymous, Irina senses a history to the object that makes her uneasy. As Irina begins to investigate the origins of the piece, she unearths the secrets it holds within.
Decades earlier, another young woman kept secrets. Her name was Abigail. Over the course of one summer, she fell in love, and dreamed of the future. But Abigail could not know that a catastrophe loomed, and this event would change the course of many lives for ever…
And I can safely say, not only did it live up to my expectations but it exceeded them. This book was a real page turner that I just couldn’t put down. It followed a similar format to The Silent Hours, with the narrative swapping back and forth between present day and 1952.
This book starts with a prologue in August 1952, then moves back to 3 months earlier to introduce Abigail and her friend Mary in Bristol, and then forward to now to introduce Irina, a furniture restorer. Abigail’s mum dies and she has to leave Mary and their dreams of a future in America behind and go and live in Lynmouth with her sister Connie who she hasn’t seen in over 10 years and brother-in-law Larry.
Meanwhile we follow Irina’s memories of her Dad and her brother Joshua. She also receives a new piece of furniture to restore – a bureau. From then on she experiences ghostly sensations emanating from the bureau. But she gradually discovers secret compartments in the bureau with mementoes hidden within. We see how Irina interacts with her mum, plus she meets up with her ex, Andrew again who wants to see the bureau too.
Andrew traces one of the mementoes, a ticket stub, as being from the Cliff Railway at Lynmouth. They take a trip there together but rush back when a call advises that Irina’s mum is in hospital.
Meanwhile Abigail makes a new friend with Richard and his dad Martin. But she is very wary of Larry who takes any opportunity alone to try to touch her up. Although she loves Richard, she knows she needs to get away from Larry, so she invites Mary in the hope they can continue with their plan of going to America.
But everything changes with the flood and that is all I’m going to say.
Hard to credit, but I actually liked this book even more than The Silent Hours. Maybe because I could relate to the location. I spent a week in Lynmouth on school holiday in the top year of junior school and can remember going on the cliff railway. I also was vaguely aware of the flood.
The Last Night may be purchased on Amazon currently priced at £12.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. It is published by Corvus, an imprint of Atlantic Books. I really enjoyed this book. Highly recommended and I shall definitely be waiting for Cesca’s next novel.
And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a copy of “The Last Night” to 5 lucky winners.
And you may see my other giveaways here.
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Disclosure. This post is a review of a product I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.