Rosa Rankin-Gee - The Last Kings of Sark (3 stars)

Rosa Rankin-Gee - The Last Kings of Sark

An island-set bitter-sweet love story is effective at first, but falters as it swerves into darker territory


Jude is invited to the remote island of Sark to tutor socially awkward teenager, Pip. Also staying with the family is Sofi, an eccentric and captivating cook who leads them on daring trips across the island when Pip’s father heads off on a business trip. Soon a fierce love grows between the three, but as the end of their stay arrives, they must all depart the island and face their lives without each other.

Rosa Rankin-Gee writes beautifully and vividly about the languid haze of summer, the power of longing, of difficult goodbyes and the thrill of a seemingly endless time. But once Jude leaves Sark, the novel takes a darker turn and the magic of that season quickly evaporates.

Unfortunately this darker section is the weakest, the prose faltering under the weight of too many different styles and voices. Overall, while this bitter-sweet love story is effective, the promise of the first section is never fully realised in later parts of the novel.

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