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This Last Kiss, by Madeleine Reiss

Book blurb

This Last Kiss is the perfect emotional and romantic read.

Rora Raine is finally coming home to Hastings, twelve years after she left her grief-stricken father, and fled the love of her life, Carl.

Struggling to support her bright but troubled daughter, Rora has convinced herself she’ll never love again. When she meets a bumblingly charming stranger, Rora’s heart begins to thaw.

But, try as she might, she can’t run from true love forever.

Funny, warm-hearted and soaringly romantic, This Last Kiss is the redemptive story of two star-crossed lovers, told through each and every kiss they share.

My review

This Last Kiss is in essence a modern day fairytale – a cleverly structured HEA divided into distinct paradigms with, instead of “days” kisses. There’s the two hero’s Rora and Carl, the wicked step mother ( or in this case two – Rora’s dad and Carl’s mother) and the fairy godmother (Isobelle). Plotted over a twelve year time span the story slowly reveals the bones of Rora and Carl’s relationship from childhood to adulthood, as history repeats itself through Rora’s daughter. But will history repeat itself or will Rora be able to guide her daughter away from the hidden demons that haunted her mother?

All this intricate plotting is set in the seaside town of Hastings, which I should have Googled but I believe is somewhere up north (give me a break, I’m Irish). There’s tasty morsels for those reading aficionado’s amongst you. The Hattie Jacques nurse (what nurse ever wants to be alluded to as matron!) and the Comical Pole (do Poles eat cabbage?)

I usually try and compare books to movies but in this I’ve failed because I haven’t seen it yet so instead I’ll going to throw a couple of books at you. They happen to both be favourites amongst my top thousand or so…

Vince and Joy ( Lisa Jewell) because of the way Rora and Carl’s relationship developed and changed over time and finally, going back to my fairytale analogy The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield.

Finally a note of caution – sometimes a reader and a writer’s happy ending aren’t exactly the same thing but that’s not necessarily  a bad thing –  I can’t abide guessing an ending. My fairytale analogy stands – any fairytale worth its salt has many dark moments  as it does stolen kisses.