Member Reviews

3.5 STARS
When out of work actor Rey Levine is offered an acting role in the Highlands she jumps at the chance. Then she finds out that some of the acting scenes require her to swim in the North Sea, which she is terrified of, and she thinks about refusing the role.
The story unfolds in dual timelines, the present and flashbacks to 2008 and a family holiday in Corsica where Rey’s younger sister went missing.
This is a good slow burn domestic thriller mentioning some dark issues such as abuse, alcoholism and bulimia.
The novel is well-written and the descriptions about fame, losing anonymity, and being chased by paparazzi seem very realistic.
However, the novel ends quite abruptly, leaving some loose ends.
Many thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley UK for the ARC.

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I’m a fan of Nina Manning’s thrilling novels. This story is told in dual timeline from the present and 2009 when Rey’s sister went missing and is presumed dead. Her sisters death tore her family apart and Rey was blamed for it and has not gone in the water since. When she’s offered a part that requires her to swim in the ocean she is determined to get past her fear of water in order to save her acting career. Rey remembers the events surrounding her sisters disappearance as she swims. I enjoyed the back and forth timeline. Rey is very relatable and I understand her feelings of guilt. I liked that she was willing to overcome her fear. The first pages really draw you in and see you up for a great book!

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When out-of-work actress Rey Levine is offered her dream acting role, she knows she has to make it work. However, there's a catch: the film requires her to swim, something she hasn't done since that fateful summer holiday fifteen years ago—the summer her sister disappeared, and everyone blamed Rey.

Desperate to block out the painful memories, Rey's life spirals out of control as she turns to alcohol and fleeting relationships to numb the pain. Her current existence is a chaotic blur, teetering on the brink of self-destruction.

With her first dip in the cool water for the film, Rey initially believes she's found the perfect escape. Yet, as she immerses herself, old memories resurface, forcing her to confront the harrowing events of that dreadful summer she longs to forget.

Unbeknownst to Rey, someone is determined to keep the truth buried. They will stop at nothing to ensure the past remains hidden, even if it means destroying Rey's life all over again. As the lines between reality and memory blur, Rey must navigate a perilous path to uncover the truth and reclaim her life before it’s too late.

This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and I would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.

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Compelling read, Every family have their secrets, some are darker than others. The truth will emerge no matter who you are at the end of the day.
Good thread throughout this book. I would have loved to been told what happened to Franny, or is there another book lurking.? It seems as if the material is their for a follow on.

Thank you Netgalley for letting me read this book.

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We all have memories of the past that we remember a certain way but they actually happened differently or what we saw isn’t what was really happening. This story is basically that and how the family is torn apart by the loss of the youngest child.

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Plagued by the disappearance of her younger sister while vacationing when she was 17, Rey struggles as an adult.

Finding early success as an actress, stories of her background and partying force a pause on her budding career. With her bank account dwindling, Rey is excited to resume acting and accepts an acting role in the Scottish Highlands. While trying to carve out a healthier future, it appears secrets from Rey’s past are determined to come out. Was she responsible for her sister’s disappearance as her mother has always said? Or were there much darker forces to blame?

This was an engaging story that tackles some dark topics such as alcoholism, bulimia, family dysfunction and abuse. I would recommend this if you have enjoyed other books from Nina Manning and/or enjoy domestic thrillers. This is available now in both print and audio version!

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Rey can’t or rather won’t swim. But if she wants a comeback to her acting career with a rather gorgeous costar, she’s got to bite that proverbial bullet and sort herself out. But why does she hate the water so much? Something that deep rooted has to have a reason!

Finding out that reason had me hooked. What had happened to Rey? As I read I got snippets of events that happened to teenage Rey in the gorgeous island of Corsica. But once I was enlightened on the whole story, I was left stunned. I had to reread what I read. I was gobsmacked.

Manning has crafted a story that left me with two separate breadcrumb trails one in the present and the other in the past, both of which I had to follow to get to the crux of Rey’s past and to understand what was happening in the present. The way Manning brought the two threads together in to one climax of a story left me stunned. It’s different to my other experience of Manning’s thriller writing and a world away from her Shattered Mums books but the one thing that links them all is an addictive story.

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Her Last Summer by Nina Manning is a gripping and suspenseful novel.
I’m a big fan of Manning’s work and this was another wonderful read.
The compelling narrative and well-drawn characters had me up so late.
The way she creates her characters is seriously the best. They are intriguing and entertaining.
Nina Manning's ability to build and maintain suspense makes this novel a captivating read for fans of psychological thrillers.

Thank you NetGalley and Boldwood Books for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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📚 PUBLICATION DAY REVIEW 📚

Her Last Summer By Nina Manning
Publication Date: May 30, 2024 (TODAY! 🎉)
Publisher: Boldwood Books

📚MY RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

📚MY REVIEW:

Happy Publication Day to Nina Manning and Her Last Summer! A huge thank you to NetGalley and Boldwood Books for this advanced reader's copy in exchange for my honest review!

What a fun and twisty read this was! The story was really easy to get into...an out-of-work actress gets an offer for a huge part in a new flick, but secrets from her past threaten to ruin everything before she can even get her career back off the ground. See? Easy to get into. Also, a quick & bingeable read.

Our female MC, Rey, was an unreliable narrator hiding a big secret in her past -- my favorite kind-of narrator! I loved the way the chapters went back and forth from past to present. Manning did such a fantastic job creating juxtaposition between the two periods of Rey's life, slowly dropping morsels of intrigue about the story's mysteries.

I really enjoyed this book...until its end. As I read, I kept watching the remaining page numbers dwindle because I couldn't figure out how everything was going to be resolved with so few pages left. Well, it kinda wasn't. I honestly thought I was missing a chapter or two when I got done, and I really wanted more. I just sat there, wondering what happened next.

Maybe I got some answers to some of my questions, but this ending left me feeling like I wasn't quite sure...I'd say I loved the first 90% of the book but it ended too abruptly and left me wanting more. I guess that's not the worst thing, right?

Overall, I definitely recommend this book. A perfect summer read, this is a bingeable domestic thriller with a side of paparazzi, family trauma, and redemption.

**Trigger Warnings: Sexual abuse, family trauma, alcoholic parent. If these are difficult topics for you, you may want to skip this one.**

#HerLastSummer #NinaManning #NetGalley #ARC #PublicationDay #bookreviews #bookrecommendations #booklover #bookcommunity

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Rey Levine, an actress is offered a job of a lifetime after being out of the limelight for a couple of years. But the only problem is it will require her to swim in open water, something she has not done since that fateful summer holiday fifteen years ago.

First off this was not a thriller I was expecting. It started off a bit slow but picked up pace in the flashback chapters that were interesting as I wanted to know what had happened
in Rey's past during that fateful summer because of which she was so terrified of swimming.

There were a few loose ends that needed to be tied when the book ended abruptly making me think if i missed out something. I found plot lacking in twists and surprises. The premise had a lot of promise but somehow the execution fell flat for me.

Thank you @netgalley and @boldwoodbookclub for the digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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"Her Last Summer," by Nina Manning, is a compelling narrative exploring the profound effects of trauma, guilt, and the challenging journey toward redemption. Rey Levine's existence has been stagnant for two years. Formerly an acclaimed actress, she is now tormented by the recollections of a disastrous summer fifteen years ago—the summer her younger sister Franny disappeared, creating an irreplaceable loss. Held responsible for the calamity during their Corsican holiday with their aunt, Rey descended into a life tarnished by alcohol, drugs, and transient relationships.
An offer from her agent for a film role alongside the esteemed Dexter Rice sparks a ray of hope, yet the demand to swim in the ocean—a task that petrifies her—revives the traumatic memories of the summer her sister was lost.
The story oscillates between the present and that haunting past. Grasping the opportunity to take control of her life, Rey sets out to overcome her aquaphobia by joining a local sports center. As her forthcoming movie starts to draw media attention, the secrets of that summer also come to light, drawing the invasive gaze of the paparazzi. Nonetheless, Rey's determination remains unshaken. She braces herself for the media onslaught and heads to Scotland, resolute in confronting her fears.
From the beginning, it is clear that Rey's collapse two years ago has profoundly impacted her life. Her self-destructive behaviors, while lamentable, were her means of coping. The role in the movie emerges as a beacon of hope, an opportunity she cannot afford to miss. However, as the past makes its way back, it challenges her fortitude. The pivotal question lingers: can Rey conquer her past?
Upon her arrival on the set of her new film, Rey is disturbed by indications of being watched and the presence of an unexpected security guard. As she tries to concentrate on her profession, her thoughts drift back to her adolescence. Rey's character captivates, and I find myself cheering for her to surmount her past and embrace happiness. Although the story's pace seems slow at first, it gradually builds up the suspense. The narrative is masterfully woven, blending Rey's current struggles with a summer from fifteen years earlier. The author vividly depicts that crucial season and the events that led to Rey's wrongful accusation. This book is a captivating read that grabs your attention, making it difficult to put down. It comes highly recommended for mystery enthusiasts.
I extend my gratitude to Boldwood, the author, and Netgalley for the copy of "Her Last Summer."

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This was my first Nina Manning book and there was a lot to enjoy. I liked the premise and dual POV. Going between time frames helped add to the slow burn thriller.

I found the misdirection and character build to be pretty good and the who did it / what happened scenario did build through the book.

I did find I wanted a little more with the ending.

I will be wishing a happy pub day on May 30th

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Her last summer by Nina Manning this book involves Ray Levine who is a famous British actress or at least she was until her own actions left her with no work but now her publicist calls and tells her not only does she have a movie but it’s with one of the most popular stars Dexter Rice The only problem is it’s in the Highlands and it involves swimming in the sea something she’ll have to do for the role and something she has fear doing ever since her little sister Fran went missing. 15 years before the family went to their French Villa for the summer holiday and this is where she meets her favorite aunt Vanessa‘s new boyfriend Wallace and Ray instantly dislikes him. This is where they were when little sister Fran went missing. Is newcomer Wallace to blame? Why is the only sister Ray has left claiming to have missing memories come back and pointing the finger at her just wind her star is about to rise again? This way more to the story than just what’s in the summary but to be honest a lot of questions were not answered I found Ray to be an inconsistent character and most of the time I was confused by the thing she did Not to mention in every scenario she was in she was nauseated and everything from hangovers to a man turning her down made her nauseous which in my opinion got old really quick there’s just a lot in this book I didn’t like which is sad because I usually love Nina Manning‘s books but not this one so I guess you can’t win them all. I want to thank the publisher for my free art copy via NetGalley please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.

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This book follows Rey as our main character, who is offered a dream acting role. However, for the role, she has to swim in the sea, which she is terrified to do for reasons unbeknownst to the reader.

We then follow a dual timeline of Rey navigating her fear, as well as flashbacks to a summer trip where her younger sister went missing.

I enjoyed the dual timeline of the story and how we followed along on finding out about the origin of Rey’s fear and what happened on the summer trip. The character growth was wrote well as it gave a better insight into Rey’s backstory.

I would have preferred the ending to be slightly extended, giving more of an insight into the aftermaths of the summer trip but overall the story was enjoyable.

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Rey has finally been offered another film role for the first time since her breakdown on set two years ago. There’s just one problem - the role requires swimming, an activity she hasn’t been able to bring herself to do since the night her sister disappeared 15 years ago.

I enjoyed the dual timeline and the characterisation that led to the hints the reader could pick up on, but also allowed for misdirection. However, I felt that though the book built up to the Highlands shoot, the actual incident there was somehow anti-climactic. Similarly, the characters who could have had a bigger impact on the story - or a bigger story themselves - such as Em and Cormac seemingly faded into nothing. The last two chapters of the book made most things clear, but I’m still not quite sure why Rey’s mum blames her so fervently…

Have tried to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible!

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Slow burn mystery about an actress and her buried secrets; secrets that have haunted her since her teenage years. Rey Levine is a 30 year old woman living in London and falling on tough times. Her acting career hasn't been going well and she has spent her time drinking and finding love with one night stands. Her agent calls with an offer about a movie role, one in which she will play against the popular actor Dexter Rice. Rey is thrilled about the opportunity but not thrilled to hear that her role will require swimming in the ocean, something she is terrified to do. The reason she is terrified leads back to a summer when she was 16 and her 6 year old sister went missing during a summer trip to Corsica.

Told in then and now chapters, we find out that Rey has been suffering from guilt and trauma over the disappearance of her sister and this trauma has affected every area of her life. The summer her sister disappeared, Rey and her sisters Scarlet and Franny were vacationing with their parents and their aunt Vanessa and her new boyfriend Wallace. Rey didn't have a close relationship with her stern father and her mother spent most of her time drinking. One night Rey snuck away with her cousin for a party on the beach and someone came into the vacation home and abducted her sister. Rey's mother blamed her for the kidnapping although their were three other adults in the house and Rey has a fractured relationship with her mother and Scarlet. As Rey arrives on set for her new movie she receives notes suggesting she is being watched and a security guard shows up who no one hired. As Rey tries to make her acting career work she is drawn back to the events that happened when she was a teenager. I liked the character of Rey and was hoping she would resolve her issues and find happiness. I do wish the front part of the story moved a little faster as it took a long time to get to the mystery elements. Thank you to NetGalley and Boldwood Books for a copy of this ARC in exchange for a review.

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What happens when your youngest sibling goes missing on the family holiday abroad? How do you keep the family together or should you even try?
15 years ago Rey youngest sibling Franny goes missing from the family villa. Taking the brunt of the blame Rey starts a new life at boarding school which leads to a film career. Her middle sister Scarlett resurrects the tragedy just as Rey starts a new film after a two year break.
Can the past be healed without Franny's fate ever being discovered? Very emotional.

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My first book by this author. An OK read. Rather slow going and easily guessable. Characters were well formed but not very likeable. The plot dragged a bit for me. I suppose because I could see what was coming. If you found it in the hotel library and needed something to read by the pool this would be a good read

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Nina Manning is a brilliant author who pulls you into the story and you can't let it go until you finish the book.

This book focuses around Ray Levine, an actor, whose sister tragically vanished many years ago whilst on a Family holiday in Corsica. Or did she? The events of that night have shaped Ray and her emotional state. Ray gets a chance to star in a new film, with a very successful leading man, can she overcome her demons to fulfil the role and make a success of her life? Will she find out what happened to her sister? And will she ever be able to move on from her past?

You will not be able to out this book down, it is so captivating.

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Not what I expected at all…. The ending floored me! I read this in only a few hours, speed reading. A very easy read that I quite enjoyed!

If you like Ruth Kelly and Liv Constantine, you should really pick this book up! I really recommend it!

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