I first discovered Cesca Major when I was asked to review The Silent Hours back in 2015 and I’ve been eagerly awaiting her next novel ever since. In November 2016 The Last Night was published through Corvus Books, and I’ve just finished reading it.
I’m blaming The Last Night for keeping me up into the early hours on a number of nights recently, as I just couldn’t put the book down. You all know by now that I’m a big fan of books that are told through the eyes of various characters, tick. Love the way Cesca Major writes, tick.
Mainly told through the eyes of Irina and Abigail, The Last Night is set in the 1950’s and modern-day and tells the stories of these two very different women, their lives and the secrets they both hide.
Abigail lives in Bristol with her mother and dreams of adventures far away with her best friend Mary. Although set in the 1950’s, it was lovely to read about places we’d explored as a family recently on our first trip to Bristol. It added to the story for me. Sadly Abigail’s mother dies suddenly and her life is thrown into turmoil as she moves in with her older sister and brother-in-law in Lynton. Their clifftop house is a walk away from Lynmouth. We follow Abigail as she becomes increasingly aware of her brother-in-law’s sinister intentions for her, whilst she rebuilds a relationship with her sister, which had been lost when she’d married. Abigail is desperate to get away, complete her plans with Mary, when she meets a young fisherman in Lynmouth called Richard. She starts to fall in love.
Meanwhile Irina hides herself away in her studio where she restores furniture. She’s scarred both emotionally and physically and struggles to let others in. She’s lost Andrew, her boyfriend, because she won’t talk about her past and about her brother. It’s hard to understand what happened to Irina to start with, but when a new client sends her an old bureau, its mysteries will take Irina on an unexpected journey and a reconciliation with Andrew.
As the two women’s stories unfold it becomes apparent that the bureau is the link between the past and the present. I found myself really taking to both characters, wanting Abigail to get away from the clifftop house, and settled with her beau. I wanted to understand what had happened to Irina and her lost brother, why could she not open up to Andrew?
The two stories build and build in The Last Night and without ruining the story for you all, there is a link to the real life Lynmouth disaster of 1952. It’s sad, poignant and heartwarming, all at once. A real page turner, and when you realise it’s based on a real event it makes it even more captivating. Actually for me, it had a more personal element too. As I realised where the story was heading, it reminded me of a book on my bookshelf.
When we cleared Daddy P’s fathers house after his death back in 2009, this was one of the books we brought home. They’d visited as a family in the early 1970’s and there are a few postcards in the book that they’d also bought at the time. I’d not got round to reading the book, so thank you The Last Night for prompting me.
I can definitely recommend The Last Night, and I’ve included my Amazon Affiliate link below for your reference.
disclosure: we were sent the item mentioned in exchange for an honest review