I kindly received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review
Published: 25th March 2016 (Bookouture)
Synopsis: I stroked the top of my baby’s head and whispered to him gently that I would find a way. I will not let them take you…
Once upon a time Kate’s life was full of love and smiles and laughter. A time where she dared to dream and hope. But then her perfect family unit is shattered in the most unthinkable way. And now Kate is silently and steadily falling apart.
When she meets Martha, Kate recognizes a kindred spirit. Martha is searching for a lost love; tragedy has touched her life too. Why are they so inexplicably drawn to one another? And why are they both keeping secrets about their pasts?
As Kate and Martha are forced to face the painful memories they’d each locked away, can they save each other and learn to live again?
The Last Kiss Goodnight opens with a letter to Martha from Josef from Moscow in 1960. The narrative then moves into the present time which is 1976 in Aylesborough-on-sea where we are introduced to Kate who repeatedly rides the tour bus, ensuring that she is there early enough to guarantee the same seat each time. From the bus, Kate sees a woman, knitting, on a bench who we discover is Martha. Kate is drawn to Martha so gets off the bus, buys her a cup of tea and joins her. Martha is a bit of a nomad, travelling in the summer and coming back to Aylesborough-on-sea in the winter, Martha moves in with Kate and Toby who are relatively new to the area.
Matthew, a young man, arrives in Aylesborough-on-sea and is sleeping rough after falling out with his father over a decision he has made. Matthew has ‘perfect pitch’ and is able to determine musical notes without any pitch as reference, this and his love of music helps him bond with Geoffrey who owns the local music shop.
Matthew is researching Millrose Mount Hospital which is being redeveloped into Millrose Mount Village, whilst it isn’t clear at this point why Matthew is researching or what the history of the building is, it is clear that the history is not a pleasant one and the building does not hold good memories.
This book is beautifully written and very emotive, Driscoll takes the reader on a journey into the past to understand how Kate and Martha ended up being in Aylesborough-on-sea. The women feel that they have a connection but do not realise how close this is. The narrative changes between past and present and between the main characters; Kate, Martha and Matthew.
At times I found I didn’t completely follow the backstories due to the disjointed narrative of the characters in the first person however this built up the emotion; emotions are not always logical or can be relayed in chronological order therefore this use of language demonstrates the upset and confusion that Kate and Martha are going through.
I really liked the characters in the book, especially the local business owners and the feeling of community amongst them all. Aylesborough-on-sea sounds like a lovely place to live and would be very welcoming.
I personally felt that the ending was a bit brief because I would’ve liked to have known more! There are jumps in time and recaps as to what has happened in the passages of time whereas I would’ve rather had a slightly longer book with a bit more detail.
Overall this is a lovely book, Driscoll’s writing is emotionally charged. The experiences that Kate and Martha have been through are awful, personally particularly poignant I think because I am a mother, but is sensitively handled and beautifully described.
About the author
Teresa Driscoll is a journalist and author with 25 years’ experience across newspapers, magazines and television. After training as a newspaper reporter, she joined Thames TV for five years before 15 years as the anchor of the BBC’s south west regional TV news programme Spotlight.