Book Review: Last Summer by Kerry Lonsdale
By Michelle CarpenterJuly 5, 2019
Last Summer by Kerry Lonsdale follows Ella Skye as she struggles to recover memories of losing her unborn son as well as the events leading up to her accident—but she quickly learns that some truths are best left forgotten.
The saying goes, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.” But what if what you don’t know has the power to destroy everything? This is what Ella Skye struggles with when she wakes up in a hospital bed, remembering nothing about how she got there.
Ella, a lifestyle journalist, prides herself on remembering every article and every interview throughout her career, yet when she wakes up, she seems to have forgotten a very important factor in the previous nine months of her life—the death of her unborn son, Simon. In Last Summer, author Kerry Lonsdale takes the reader on a journey that twists and turns until the very end as Ella works to recover what she lost.
While her husband mourns the loss of their son, Ella mourns the loss of her memory of being pregnant at all. At first, the reader might believe that perhaps Ella repressed these memories due to the traumatic nature of her accident, however, there are moments within the book that allude to something more. An example of this occurs early on when Damien, Ella’s husband, slips up in a moment of shock when he realizes Ella forgot her pregnancy altogether:
“You forgot Simon. Our baby. Christ, El. You weren’t supposed to forget him. What about your emergency C-section? Do you remember that? What about last night?”
Damien remains questionable to the reader. He shows love and affection towards Ella while at the same time drifting further and further away from her, refusing to reveal details of the events that led up to her accident. While Ella desperately seeks to mend the memories of her accident and everything leading up to it, she also begins to realize that her mind may have repressed them for a reason. One of the strong points of this novel is that the reader is constantly left wondering who to trust. Ella can’t even trust herself, Damien seems to be protecting her from something he won’t divulge—and then there’s Nathan.
Yet another obstacle is thrown in Ella’s path when she receives an assignment to interview Nathan Donovan. This news is disturbing because interviewing Donovan means picking up a project she abandoned the previous summer. What Ella can’t understand is how she not only lost the memory of her pregnancy but of this entire assignment as well. The reader, along with Ella, is left to wonder how these two things are connected.
Ella feels uneasy. Nathan is well known. She should have at least heard of him and his television series. She should definitely remember meeting and interviewing him.
But she has nothing. Not a single memory. Not even a faint recollection of a phone call or email, let alone an in-person interview that she apparently conducted on some godforsaken mountain trail. As Rebecca described it.
She blocked him from her memory. Just like Simon.
Bringing Nathan Donovan back into her life sets in motion a series of events that ultimately lead to Ella exposing more than she bargained for. As she pieces together events of the previous year, she also begins to unravel the perfect picture that she had painted of her life before the accident. The reader is left thinking that maybe there are memories that don’t need to be recovered, things that have been blocked out for a reason. To say that this book is a page-turner is an understatement. I personally consider finishing a book within 24 hours to be a feat, but Lonsdale made it easy with her newest work, Last Summer.