The Last Days of Summer by Vanessa Ronan | A handful of contradicting thoughts!

Recently, it has been very difficult for me to rate several books. As it hasn’t been just one one occasion, it got me thinking – is there a problem with the books I pick up or with me?

For almost a year now I’ve been meaning to refine/define my rating system. It would help me out during these inner struggles and would also provide more information for you, guys, on what a 3-star rating actually means to me. But everytime I sit down to think about my ratings and what they mean to me, there are so many factors usually involved that it is hard to explain in a few words. Therefore, I decided to do something different and insert a Pros / Cons table at the end of my review!

32887692She can forgive. They can’t forget.

After ten years in the Huntsville State Penitentiary, Jasper Curtis returns home to live with his sister and her two daughters. Lizzie does not know who she’s letting into her home: the brother she grew up loving or the monster he became.

Teenage Katie distrusts this strange man in their home but eleven-year-old Joanne is just intrigued by her new uncle.

Jasper says he’s all done with trouble, but in a forgotten prairie town that knows no forgiveness, it does not take long for trouble to arrive at their door.

Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Bookdepository

Jason Curtis is returning home after ten years in prison. He is returning to a small southern town, where he is not welcome after what he did. This close community is not forgiving and even after a decade has passed since these horrific events, everyone remembers, everyone is on guard and quite a few of them still want revenge.

Lizzie, Jason’s sister, is conflicted between her hate towards her brother but also their sibling bond and family. Family is important. Her parents wouldn’t want her to turn her back on her brother when he needed Lizzie the most. Or would they?

She is angry. Angry at what he’s done, angry at the consequences, angry at what he put Lizzie and her family through. But Jason has nowhere else to go. Maybe they will eventually be able to heal?

The story, spiced by a southern accent, revolves around Jason’s return and the emotions that it brings to the community. The community where everyone knows each other, where faith and religions can dictate their own mandate, where revenge is a high priority.

I admit that the very slow pace of which the events unraveled made it tedious to power through, but the writing was vivid and descriptive, making me feel and see everything, making it so easy to roll the clips in my head.

What kept me going in the beginning was the mystery. Through most part of the book we are left guessing what crime did Jason commit. The Author only reveals the details very late into the story. At some points, I felt like even the mystery was not enough anymore to make me continue. But I’m glad that I did!

The story picks itself up once we get some more information and the ending is very different from the slowness of the rest of the novel.

Considering my struggle with the story itself, it was complicated to rate it at first, mostly differentiating between 2 and 3 stars. There were many aspects that I liked but also just as many that I didn’t like, however the book made me wonder about forgiveness, regret, anger, revenge and if there was an escape from the things we have done in the past. And that is one of the main reasons why I went with a higher rating.

the last days of summer cons&pros

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐ / 5

Thank you NetGalley and Penguin UK for the free ARC! Would still recommend this read to anyone who enjoys beautiful writing, but slightly slow storytelling. Don’t expect it to be too heavy on mystery, like I did.

With love,



10 thoughts on “The Last Days of Summer by Vanessa Ronan | A handful of contradicting thoughts!

    1. I struggled so much with this book. While I loved the vivid writing, emotions of the characters and inner struggles, during almost 80% of the book I felt like nothing happened and it was difficult to keep reading.


    1. This book was complex in a way that it had a wide range of characters and all of them going through this situation and experiencing these mixed emotions. I believe Katie was made shallow in the first place, to give some contrast, to present a different personality. However, I felt like I needed some more closure because of the things she’s done and instead it went unpunished. At least, that is how I felt 🙂


  1. Always good to have a way to fully express how much you like something so your pro/con idea is great. I decided to do it by how I talk when I finish a book. Like it was ‘ard’. That would be equivalent to 3 stars. Just gotta find your own comfort zone with rating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 🙂 More books I reads, more difficult it becomes to give a certain rating. I spot “flaws” easier and more often and just become a more “critical” reader. I think I finally came up with a rating system and process that works for me. I will be sharing it on my blog in a few weeks! (very excited to see what people will think about it!)

      Liked by 1 person

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