Cover Image: The Last of Us

The Last of Us

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Annette Ravenscroft is eighty two, she lives in her rundown farmhouse in Hampshire, waiting for her estranged daughter Catherine and granddaughters Elly and Grace to visit from London. She thinks it’s been four years since Catherine last visited, but Nettie’s memory isn’t the best and even the years she spent with her husband Harold are a mixed up mess in her head. 

One day she arrives home from church to find a strange man at her house, his name is James McCullum, he knows Catherine and he offers to help her fix the various broken things around her house. The front gate is hanging off it’s hinges, her fences have holes in them, she has tiles missing from her house roof, the garden is an over grown mess and it’s all too much for her to handle on her own.  

James moves into the house, he seems harmless enough, and Nettie’s life is far more complicated than you could ever imagine. Her story is full of shocking details and her family relationships are extremely tangled, and James isn't really Catherine's friend!
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, the ending was a real surprise, the story is almost a thriller and three stars from me.
Was this review helpful?
The Last of Us is the bittersweet story of an 82-year-old woman, Nettie, who is struggling to come to terms with some events that happened earlier in her life. One of those novels that causes one to stop and reflect, and is a great choice for a book club selection.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Netgalley and Orion for this e-copy in return for my honest review.  I enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend to others. Kept me engaged all the way through.
Was this review helpful?
This was quite a different read; from the description I did not expect at all what the story turned out to be. This is one of those books that has an ominous feeling all the way through, you never quite know why you feel so anxious and sure that something bad is going to happen, but you just know. The author played this card really well. 
I enjoyed this book; the writing was done very well and there were quite a few surprises in the end that I did not see coming. The story switches back and forth between young Nettie first meeting Harold at a dance and then back to Nettie as an 82-year-old recluse. I would recommend and yes, this does lean toward an Anita Shreve book. 
I want to thank Orion Publishing Group and NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this book for my honest unbiased opinion. I found this to be a 5-star book.
Was this review helpful?
A wonderful change of pace for me. This story of Nettie is told when she is older and as she is growing up. It is easy to follow the time changes and it explains why and how Nettie is the person she’s grown into. There is a bit of a mystery and a bit of a side story about her minister that adds to the plot of the book. 
I really liked this book and liked the ending.
Was this review helpful?
My description of The Last of Us by Harriet Cummings, in three words is complex, impressive and bittersweet.

Book synopsis:
Can you love someone you barely remember?
The brand new novel for fans of Anita Shreve, Maggie O'Farrell and Susan Elliot Wright - from the Books are my Bag Award shortlisted author of We All Begin as Strangers.

Eighty-two-year-old Nettie still hears the occasional gossiping, but most have forgotten what she did.

Now, living alone in a run-down farmhouse, she surrounds herself with memories of her late husband and estranged daughter Catherine.

When Catherine's friend James appears out of the blue, Nettie is grateful for the company and keen to learn more about her daughter.

But soon James starts asking Nettie questions she doesn't want to answer; about some things she can't remember and others she's tried to forget.

And if Nettie can't remember clearly, how can she be certain what they say about her is true?

If you liked What She Lost by Susan Elliot Wright, The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve, or The Hand The First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell, you'll love The Last of Us.

Why readers are giving Harriet Cummings' books five stars:

**'**What an amazing book - probably the best I've read all year!' Amazon review

'A brilliant first novel' Amazon review

'Well written, with a dark twist at the end I didn't see coming' Amazon review

'What a great debut novel! I found all the characters interesting, well-rounded and believable, and the plot intriguing' Amazon review

My musings:
I found this a remarkable story, though it did contain some depressing elements. Essentially a tale of regret, betrayal and living life, it's extremely well-written. Harriet Cummings delivers a seemingly strong protagonist in Nettie Ravenscroft, but Nettie herself is unsure whether she can be trusted as a narrator, let alone whether or not anyone else should. The novel is gritty, but I struggled a little to find a connection with Nettie. Her character was somewhat self-destructive, frequently displaying ill-considered behaviour, made worse by her inability to come to terms with her life choices. The storylines move seamlessly between past and present and are skilfully executed, leaving no margin for any confusion. Although gripping and edgy, The Last of Us was an uncomfortable read in places as it touched on topics such as loss, betrayal and regret.

Recommended for those looking for an affecting, slightly disturbing, bittersweet read.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Orion via NetGalley at my request, and this review is my own unbiased opinion.
Was this review helpful?
A somewhat Interesting read about Nettie a 82 year old who regret something in the past, we get to read things that happends in the future and in the past. Sometimes i was a bit lost and confused, but it was a nice red anyhow. I also really liked the cover wich is  a plus.
Was this review helpful?
The Last of Us is one of those novels that causes one to stop and reflect, and is a great choice for a book club selection. There are so many scenes and topics that could prompt discussion and it would be interesting to hear other's opinions and standings, not to mention the possible answers and outcomes that others may have based on their perceptions. It took me longer than usual to complete this book, it was not a quick and easy read, yet the content was very well-written.
Was this review helpful?
Enjoyed this book. Kept me interested all the way through. Would recommend to a fellow reader.  Love the cover.
Was this review helpful?
Whilst there are times in everyone's lives where they feel they may have been misunderstood or treated unfairly as a result of other's misjudgement, I would hope that few have experienced the torment suffered by 82 year-old Nettie Ravenscroft, in Harriet Cummings heart-rending novel. I wanted her to want, demand and take more for herself; to feel frustration and anger; to stick up for herself-screaming from the rooftops at the injustice of it all, but, instead she bumbles along aware of her loneliness but forgetting now the roots of its beginnings. Though evidently, like a ring of tannin remaining after a cup of tea has almost been consumed: "forgiving others is a gift to them but also to ourselves."
     Like Emma Healey's book  'Elizabeth is Missing', Cummings delivers a protagonist who is unsure whether she trusts herself as a narrator, let alone whether anyone else should for; "Memories can be tricky things.". There are so many questions for which she seems to have no answer-though of course it is the reader who is asking them and not Nettie herself. Why does she barely speak to-let alone see-her daughter and grandchildren? What happened to her husband? Why do people in the locality keep their distance?
     When the big reveal came, I was unsure and felt a little cheated- perhaps because I wanted her to be entirely blameless. However, the last third of the novel readjusts the scales, thus drawing to a close an accomplished and affecting read, which is far classier a(nd should appeal to a far wider audience) than the chosen cover indicates.
     I am grateful to Netgalley and the publisher for sharing an advance copy in return for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this book. It showed the life of a woman from a young age to  an old age. The book is well  written with good  description  and compassion.  It  kept me interested  to know what happened  to Netie.
Was this review helpful?
***Spoiler Alert****

An important read for anyone who has ever given serious consideration to euthanasia.

When I started reading the Last of Us, by Harriet Cummings, I was expecting a pleasant story about a little old lady is a pastoral English village. Instead this novel offers a well crafted tale with an intriguing plot of murder, assisted suicide, penitence and society's reaction to an ex-con. I rarely write reviews with any kind of spoiler but there is too much of importance going on in this novel to keep it all secret.

Cummings takes us though the daily life of a little old lady, Nettie, trying to cope on her own in her family home. Immediately we are introduced to local teenagers who bully and taunt her, on her own property, under cover of darkness. We witness her short forays into town, in order to purchase necessities, whereupon she receives the cold shoulder from the locals. The only person who offers her any kind of welcome at all is the local pastor, who is struggling with her own personal problems. Surely this is not the life of a typical old lady living next to the idyllic English village?

There are many things about Nettie's life that just don't add up. Why does her grown daughter speak to her so rarely? Why can't she spend more time with her grandchild? Why does she take in a young, apparently homeless, man? Why does the girl in the pub hate her? Why is everything in the barn exactly how her husband left it? Why isn't she engaged in the myriad of social activities that most old ladies engage in?

As the narrative develops everything is shockingly explained. This book leaves one with many current societal issues to think about. 

Netgalley shared a free electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This was an easy read telling the story of nettie.

Looking back on her 82 years was a delight and although she did not have an easy time, her husband was not a good man and her daughter is now estranged. Some things she would just rather not have to think about 

I was intrigued with her from the start and come the that ending I just did not expect

I have recommended this to my reading group as I think there is a lot to discuss.

I loved it
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.  H. Cummings is a gifted writer who did credit to her characters.  This is set in England and revolves around the life of a woman, her decisions, insecurities, and consequences the has to live with.  The story lines fade in and out of present and past, but is written so skillfully that it is never confusing.  It is a story of realities - love, loss, allegiances, betrayals and regrets.  But mostly, it tells the story of all of us - life is hard, but it is what it is.  We, like these characters, find our way and find things to enjoy and provide comfort and peace along the way.  Great read - highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
"The Last of Us" is the bittersweet story of an 82-year-old woman, Nettie, who is struggling to come to terms with some events that happened earlier in her life. Everyone seems to think that she's done something wrong, but she realli seems unable to reconcile that image of herself with her current self.

I had some struggling with this book, I have to be honest, that's what I'm here for. I rooted for Nettie for almost all of the book (in which happened more or less the same things over and over), but in reality she seems to me that she's only a person with a lot of love but no idea whatsoever on how to use that love for something good. Her character was particularly self-destructive, unable to come to terms with her choices and to find the right path in her life.

I wasn't a big fan of the plot twist either. Cause there's a BIG plot twist, or more than one, that I think no one will ever anticipate. Tha fact is, I came her for a different kind of book, this was sold as "General Fiction" to me, but in reality it was a totally different genre, to be honest.

Concluding with what I REALLY liked instead, I can say that the psychological aspect in this story was well curated, every character has its own personality and its own voice, even though some of their choices (Harold, I'm looking at you) in my opinion were full of nonsense.
I really really enjoyed the chapters set in 1960 London, though. I'm a fan of historical fiction and honestly the chapter where Nettie and Harold meet is so charming, from the music to the place, it seems to stand with them in that club.

Afer all this book was a pleasant read. I would re-read it? No, I don't think so, but I certainly enjoyed the ride.
Was this review helpful?
82 year old Nettie lives alone in an isolated country house when one day a young man, James, invites himself in. Who is he and what does he know about Nettie's past life?

I thought that the premise of The Last Of Us was intriguing and the eventual revelations were a surprise although rather unbelievable. I didn't feel connected to any of the characters so for the final pages I rushed the reading in order to learn the ending. I found the writing somewhat flat and was disappointed. Thanks to NetGalley and Orion for the opportunity to read and review the book.
Was this review helpful?
Eighty-two-year-old Nettie lives alone on her run-down farm, isolated with only memories for company. When wanderer James arrives and turns out to be a friend of her daughter Catherine, Nettie invites him to stay.
As he gets on with odd jobs the situation becomes unsettling for Nettie. James is asking questions, he’s heard what the gossips are saying about her, about Harold, her husband. What does James really want?
An enjoyable read with a big twist that I didn’t see coming.
Was this review helpful?
This book is a slightly challenging read if, like me, you don't find the main character particularly sympathetic.  That being said, there is a good twist at the end, so worth persevering.  The contrast between town and country life is a key part of the story, as are politics.  Everybody seems to have secrets, which are gradually revealed throughout the book.  An interesting story.
Was this review helpful?