Judith Kinghorn


UK Edition

UK Edition

USA Edition

USA Edition

The Last SUmmer

Summer 1914. Deyning Park is in its heyday, the large country house filled with the laughter and excitement of privileged youth preparing for a weekend party. When Clarissa meets Tom Cuthbert, home from university, she is dazzled. Tom is handsome and enigmatic; he is also an outsider.

Ambitious, clever, his sights set on a career in law, Tom is also an acute observer, and a man who knows what he wants. For now, that is Clarissa. But as Tom and Clarissa's friendship deepens, the wider landscape of political life around them is changing, and soon the world - and all that they know - is rocked irrevocably by a war that changes their lives for ever.

…we didn’t stand on the brink, we ran along it, unperturbed by tremulous skies, sure of our footing and certain of sunshine, hungry for the next chapter in our own unwritten stories. For lifetimes - lifetimes we had only just begun to imagine - stretched out before us criss-crossing and fading into a distant horizon.

A sweepingly epic and gloriously intimate story of lost innocence, changing fortunes, and a powerful, enduring love.


A sumptuous absorbing tale of love in the time of war. Judith Kinghorn’s novel brilliantly illuminates the experiences of a generation of blighted youth.
— Rachel Hore


‘An enchanting story of love and war, and the years beyond.’ — Penny Vincenzi

‘Well drawn characters combined with flawless writing make Kinghorn’s debut a triumph… Un-put-downable and relentlessly intriguing, this is a tale for the ages.’ — Dish Magazine, US

‘DON’T MISS The Last Summer by Judith Kinghorn. An epic and enthralling love story set against the backdrop of the Great War.’ — Fanny Blake, Woman and Home (magazine), UK

‘An enchanting début… big storytelling stuff of social and political change spanning the First World War and beyond. It’s a glorious read, highly recommended.’ — Sarah Broadhurst, The Bookseller (magazine), UK

‘The year is 1914 and love and war are about to transform priveleged 16 year-old Clarissa’s charmed existence forever. This sumptuous romance is made for fans of Downton.’ — The Lady Magazine, UK

‘This is a brilliantly written moving love story set against the epic backdrop of war… The Last Summer deserves to be a massive hit.’ — Joanna Rees

'The author has crafted a mesmerizing love story, and totally captured a time and an age now gone forever...I didn't know this story would take such a strong hold on my heart. I genuinely loved this book. It gripped me completely from start to finish, it wrung my heart out.' — Lindsay Healy

‘This is a beautifully written and researched book. The imagery of the period as well as the characters remain with the reader after the last page has been turned. Almost elegiac in the way that it conjures up a lost time and an enduring love.’ — Lorna Gibb

‘Viewers (of Downton Abbey) whose heartstrings were pulled by the star-crossed romance of Lady Sybil and Downton’s driver Tom Branson will regret not picking up The Last Summer by Judith Kinghorn.’ — Huff Post Books

‘Kinghorn has created a sweeping story of love and loss which kept me guessing to the very end… highly recommended.’ — onemorepage.co.uk

‘A very ambitious debut novel… However, due to a combination of meticulous research, great storytelling and writing, Judith Kinghorn pulls it off. I was absolutely transported.’ — Isabel Costello — On The Literary Sofa

The Last Summer is irresistible: a captivating story of love and family against the backdrop of World War 1 and its aftermath. I stayed up late reading, hooked on its sensuous prose, elegant settings, and fascinating characters.’ — Margaret Wurtle

‘A dense and luscious read that is emotionally gripping and at times unsettling, but is a powerful tale of love, regret, and both the loss of Clarissa’s innocence and that of England.’ — Evangeline Holland

‘Impeccably written and well researched this is an atmospheric and haunting read… the perfect balance of romance and grit by a great new writer. Don’t miss it!’ — Deborah Swift

'... a beautifully written novel with evocative descriptions and entirely credible characters. Judith Kinghorn captures the mood of the characters and the changing world around them with sensitivity, skill and a gentleness that contrasts with the shocking events of the war.' — Angela Buckley

'The Last Summer is a beautiful nostalgic love story with echoes of Barbara Taylor Bradford. However, the language and the depth of Kinghorn's characterisation surpasses that of Bradford. There are examples of exquisite writing here. Depth of feeling and loss haunt its pages: the passing of an age, the loss of young men in the first world war, the loss and reclaim of love.' — Carol McGrath

‘..the complex plot holds the reader mesmerized from the first to last page. Extraordinary historical fiction and highly recommended.’ — Viviane Crystal

‘Judith Kinghorn has an incredible descriptive skill allowing the reader to see not just the glitz and glamour of the times, but the fear and desperation… The Last Summer is the sort of book you can’t put down.’ — luxuryreading.com

'It’s the lovely fresh vibrancy of the narrative voice that immediately draws you into this novel. And the deft pulsing characterisation of the young heroine, Clarissa... This world masterfully and beautifully evoked. The prose in its fresh understated lyricism reminded me of Rosamond Lehman, Elizabeth Taylor and early Elizabeth Bowen, all writers I greatly admire.' — Amazon