The Last Embrace by Pam Jenoff


Published by Harlequin UK/Mira UK, 30 July, 384 pages, £5.99

Quick Description: Historical romance, coming of age, passion and heart-break.

Steam?: moderate.

Plot: August 1940 and 16-year-old refugee Addie escapes Fascist Italy to live with her aunt and uncle in Atlantic City. As WW2 breaks, she finds acceptance and love with Charlie Connelly and his family. But war changes everything: secrets and passions abound, and when one brother’s destructive choices lead to the tragic death of another, the Connelly family is decimated, and Addie along with them.Now 18, she flees, first to Washington and then to war-torn London where she is swept up with life as a correspondent. But when Charlie, now a paratrooper, re-appears, Addie discovers that the past is impossible to outrun. Now she must make one last desperate attempt to find within herself the answers that will lead the way home.

It was super hard finding a book after Mila Gray… I was suffering from severe book hangover, nothing was sticking, or seemed like a good replacement. A few pages into the The Last Embrace, I felt at peace. This I knew, was going to be a good one. Just from the cover and title, you can tell this book is a tear-jerker. It is. But first, lets start from the beginning. Addie, a teenage girl that has just escaped from a torrid war zone, is both strong and vulnerable. You already love her and was scared for her from phase one. And if you have read a few of my posts, I absolutely adore coming of age.

The author writes beautifully. She skillfully tells the story through flashbacks and flash-forwards. The mix of memories, attraction and changes, makes the novel so emotional. I don’t want to give too much away, but the idea of place is crucial, as well as the different forms of love. Pam does: love at first sight, passion, endless love, and that type of love, where it was always around but you are blind to it until it is almost too late and it is the strongest of them all.

On top of this, you have the backdrop of war and its aftermath. Lots of different places (Philadelphia, Washington and London) different characters and events keep the whole tone upbeat and action-packed. Danger and heart-break was always round the corner. The novel can get quite predictable at times. I sort of had suspicions right at the beginning about how it might end. But I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing. Basically, Addie has three men in her life (I know..). The first one is Charlie, the football captain/alpha male. The second is Teddy, a smart and snarky Oxbridge reporter (I am soo on team Teddy). The last man is a mystery- try and guess who it is during your read…

Addie struggles with who to choose. The confusion can get overbearing at times. But it makes us wonder. You can love more than one person, and keep loving someone even when you know its over and something else has begun.

Many thanks to Harlequin/Mira for my review copy xxx

Connect: @PamJenoff


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