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Last Bite of the Cherry Paperback – 20 Oct 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret Cullingford (20 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0957398204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0957398207
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,634,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Mags Cullingford, escaping the rumpus of a university department, decided to generate uproar she could control. She realized a long-term ambition to write fiction. Although 'romantic' is not how she would describe herself, Last Bite of the Cherry is a love story, with issues and then some. Otherwise there would be little fun in either writing about, or reading of the characters she conjures up, or so she thinks. Mags is a founding member of the indie publishing group, The New Romantics 4, has completed her second novel, and is currently working on a third.

Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Monica agrees to counselling the depressed Rosaleen. Superficially the two women share nothing more significant than the date of their births; Irish immigrant vs academic; basic schooling vs doctorate; prosperous housewife vs running a women's refuge while preparing to take vows. But Rosaleen's revelations produce powerful echoes in Monica and starts her on her own journey, re-living her past and re-evaluating her present. Last Bite of the Cherry doesn't strike me as traditional romance but an intriguing exploration of love, lust and trust from two very different points of view.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Last Bite Of The Cherry is a dark romance, more of a tale of slowly unfolding life-stories which culminate in another chance for some of the characters.

The book opens in 1969, Monica Sommers is just fourteen, she witnesses her parents arguing, then a near fatal accident. A distressing time for the young Monica.

A couple of chapters later and it is now the year 2000. Monica is in training to be a nun, is involved with a refuge for abused women and she also counsels. She hopes to help Rosaleen Westlake, a women suffering from depression. Through their sessions Monica finds similarities in their lives and this unleashes her own past.

The book hops back and forth with time-slips throughout Monica's life. Much of it involves her re-telling these events to her very good friend Father Malachy O'Brien.

This is an intense read, often dialogue lead, but with sprinkles of rich descriptions as the storyline builds in layers. There are also some enjoyable characters who bring their own wide ranging local dialects to the book. I particularly liked Dora.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Two fascinating life stories become enmeshed in an unusual and superbly well written novel. The author has a marvellous eye for detail and an ability to explore deep and complex emotions in an imaginative and beautiful manner. The main characters are strong and completely engaging and the multiplicity of sub-plots and minor characters make the novel a joy to read. The novel tackles some very meaty issues without becoming heavy or depressing. A powerful and thought-provoking novel. Highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a "meaty" read with great subplots running alongside the story of Monica's turbulent life. She's a heroine we admire and love and find ourselves rooting for throughout the novel. Mags Cullingford has an excellent eye for detail and never fails to hold our interest. I really recommend this novel.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Last Bite of the Cherry was the last of the debut books by the New Romantics 4 on my list and, having read the others, I suppose I was expecting something similar to the novels of Adrienne Vaughan, June Kearns and Lizzie Lamb. I loved all those books so I was looking forward to reading this one.
However, from the very first scene it was quite apparent that this was something different. This wasn't going to be a straightforward romance. There were darker layers to this story. I was intrigued.
It's the story of two women, born on the same day, and the men who love them. Put like that it sounds simple enough, but it isn't. Monica and Rosaleen have stories to tell, ostensibly very different, but connected by shared experiences, grief, lust, guilt and love.
Monica is poised to take her final vows to become a nun, working as a counsellor and dealing with abused women and children at a refuge. Rosaleen is one of her clients, brought to her by her dear friend Father Malachy. Rosaleen is desperate to talk but afraid and hesitant to share, drowning in guilt and sorrow. As Monica listens, over the course of several sessions Rosaleen tells her story, and it invokes memories for Monica of her own life and lost loves.
Monica's great love, complicated yet so simple. Will loves her, but there is another side to him and she finds it hard to trust him. Their agreement is a straightforward one. They will do what they have to do and come back to each other. Monica recalls her life with him, a life in which she was loved but struggled with jealousy and fear.
Rosaleen is also loved, but has done some things that have eaten her up with guilt and are destroying her chance of happiness.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Reading Margaret Cullingford’s book was like starting a box of chocolates and then being unable to stop. The book opens with a bang (literally). I had to go back and read it twice to make sure I really understood what had happened.
It’s September 3rd, 1969 and we’re at the home of 14-year-old Monica Sommers and her parents. By Chapter 3 we’ve jumped to the year 2000 where a 45-year-old Monica is meeting a patient for therapy. This ‘troubled soul’, Rosaleen will turn out to have uncanny echoes with Monica–born on the same day, and both having experienced similar tragedies in their lives.
This is not an ‘easy’ book in the sense that the narrative weaves back and forth between the two dates, introducing other important characters as well as many secondary ones. The writing style too is unusual. While not stream of consciousness, it follows natural speech rhythms so that we hear the voices of the characters in our heads. This fits in well with the book’s non-linear structure, more akin to oral story-telling mode.
The intensity and richness of the writing is compelling, transporting us to other times and other places, bringing the story to life in the reader’s imagination. The sensuousness of the description, whether the author is describing a feeling, a scene, a meal, is an absolute delight, plunging us into the ambience like a dive into a warm pool. Join in with Monica, looking out of a window overlooking ‘a secluded garden vibrant with scarlet geraniums, magenta bougainvillea, and white jasmine’, and breathing in ‘warm Mediterranean scents, wormwood, rosemary and pine..’ or savouring a salad: ‘with her fingers she picked off the glossy black olives one by one, popping each in turn into her mouth to savour their bittersweet taste.
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