30 October 2015
Book Review: The Last Kiss Goodbye by Tasmina Perry
1961. Journalist Rosamund Bailey is ready to change the world. When she meets explorer and man about town Dominic Blake, she realises she has found the love of her life. Just as happiness is in their grasp, the worst happens, and their future is snatched away.
2014. Deep in the vaults of a museum, archivist Abby Gordon stumbles upon a breathtaking find. A faded photograph of a man saying goodbye to the woman he loves. Looking for a way to escape her own heartache, Abby becomes obsessed with the story, little realising that behind the image frozen in time lies a secret altogether more extraordinary."
Available to buy now.
I was thrilled when I requested a copy of Tasmina Perry's latest novel The Last Kiss Goodbye on Netgalley and was accepted - it feels like it's been a long while since her 2013 christmas novel The Proposal. I really love books where there is a split narrative, especially when it's set over two time periods, so I couldn't wait to read this one and unearth more about Rosamund and Dominic's story, as well as Abby discovering it in the modern day. As usual, the cover is gorgeous - evocative of the mood of the book, but something that completely grabbed me and made me want to dive in.
I'm quite used to a bit of a bonkbuster when I read Tasmina's novels, so this one was a bit of an escape from her past novels for me. Her last book, The Proposal, also moved away from this so it was quite nice to see this carried through to this book as well. The books certainly haven't lost their blockbuster appeal though, and Perry's writing is just as stunning as it always is, drawing me deep into the world of the story, and making me not want to leave it, even in the wee hours of the morning! I loved the historical aspects of this book, and Dominic and Rosamund were just the perfect characters to follow for this.
Rosamund is a journalist, determined to change the world and have her voice be heard in a very male dominated industry. When she meets Dominic Blake, a man who seemingly stands for everything Rosamund is against, there's a spark that neither of them can deny. They strike up a close friendship, going to social parties together and eventually cementing their relationship. But after Dominic goes to Peru on expedition and doesn't return, Rosamund has to carry on her life without her life. In 2014, Abby works in a gallery, looking through old photographs, and stumbles across a romantic photograph. She's determined to find out who the couple are in the picture, but doesn't realise the shocking story behind the romantic image...
As I have said, I really loved the split narrative of this book, and Perry handles it so well in the book, making the transitions seamless and so easy to follow. I thoroughly enjoyed the slow development of the friendship between Dominic and Rosamund, both keen to stand up for their views, both strong-willed people, yet unable to stop their romantic feelings once they have taken hold. Perry's descriptive writing of London in the 1960's was wonderful, so evocative of the time, everything from the fashion, to the buildings to the feel of the time was perfect. Their love story was highly romantic, even until the end when Dominic disappears, and you just know Rosamund will never get over it. This is where Abby and her investigative skills come in, researching about the picture of The Last Kiss Goodbye she unearths in the archives.
I loved the contrast of Dominic and Rosamund's blossoming relationship, and Abby's failing one, this worked so well for the story, although I did of course feel very sorry for Abby and how she has been treated. All of the characters are so well written, you feel like you're living their story alongside them, they are all believable as people and as such I really cared for them, and what happened to them. As the book neared its end, the secrets start to come out, and I was totally shocked by the revelations -I truly hadn't seen them coming and I loved that Perry was able to hide that from me until the point when it must be revealed. This was a superbly written and crafted novel, seamlessly weaving two tales into one, blending the past with the modern day, but showing us the thread of love is the one thing that can stand the test of time. Beautiful, a must-read.