Listen free for 30 days

  • The Last Summer

  • Wild Isle Series, Book 1
  • By: Karen Swan
  • Narrated by: Katie Leung
  • Length: 14 hrs and 7 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (69 ratings)

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £14.99

Buy Now for £14.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

Summer on St Kilda—a wild, remote Scottish island.

Two strangers from drastically different worlds meet....

Wild-spirited Effie Gillies has lived all her life on the small island of St Kilda but when Lord Sholto, heir to the Earl of Dumfries, visits, the attraction between them is instant. For one glorious week she guides the handsome young visitor around the isle, falling in love for the first time—until a storm hits and her world falls apart.

Three months later, St Kilda falls silent as the islanders are evacuated for a better life on the mainland. With her friends and family scattered, Effie is surprised to be offered a position working on the Earl’s estate. Sholto is back in her life but their differences now seem insurmountable, even as the simmering tension between them grows. And when a shocking discovery is made back on St Kilda, all her dreams for this bright new life are threatened by the dark secrets Effie and her friends thought they had left behind.

Opposites attract in this epic and spellbinding novel, which transports us from the untamed beauty of St Kilda to the glamour and intrigues of high society in the 1930s. The Last Summer is the first book in The Wild Isle series by Sunday Times bestseller Karen Swan, inspired by the true history of St Kilda and its small island community. 

©2022 Karen Swan (P)2022 Macmillan Publishers International Limited

What listeners say about The Last Summer

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    55
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    54
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    52
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic story

Loved this book!
It has been a while since I could say that.
I cannot wait for book 2…..a long wait!
First book I’ve read/listened to by this author & I will definitely be looking at her other books ❤️

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Surprising

Took time to get used to the Scottish accent. But I hope there will be a sequel as end left you hanging, it is mainly a grim story based on fact and I cried buckets re the evacuation from the island though I had to keep reading. Not her usual style.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A moving story in beautiful St Kilda

In this new novel, Karen Swan is taking us to St Kilda in that last summer before the evacuation of the Island in 1930.
Effie Gillies has lived there all her life, working hard to support herself and her dad. Because her brother died and her father is getting older, she has to take on the chores they would have normally done and she becomes a very independent, wild and free spirited young woman. Shortly before the evacuation, she guides one of the visitors to the Island, the Earl of Dumfries, and her son Sholto for a birding tour. There is instant connection but they are from such different worlds. She is pursued by the unpleasant factor Matthieson and Sholto goes back to Scotland. The evacuation brings Effie and her father to Scotland and the employ of the Earl of Dumfries. Effie has one foot in the past and her eyes set on the future. Where will her new life take her?
This well researched story gives us a glimpse of the life on St Kilda in 1930. An island inhabited by 36 people who were still living in the old ways. Fetching eggs, birds and puffins to feed themselves, having very little material comfort and very isolated. The visit of tourists like the Earl of Dumfries gave the St Kildans an idea that they could have a better life and they decided to ask for their evacuation. But their new lives were not simple either. The story is full of really strong and interesting characters. St Kilda is beautifully depicted in its roughness and natural beauty, the contrast of the love St Kildans have for it and the wish they have to leave it because their life is so harsh there. The story also illustrates the strength they draw from their simple and mindful life.
I was totally absorbed in this novel and felt sad when the last page came a little abruptly. I was not ready for the end and I felt there were still so many questions left hanging. And then, I learned that this is the first novel of a series. I cannot wait now to read the next ones.
A very good novel and enjoyable read.

The audiobook is excellent. The story is narrated with an accent that brings it really to life. It is read at a good pace, with a pleasant voice that clearly switches between the characters. The narration really made me feel part of this group of people and it was very immersive.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fabulous story

loved it, loved the story and the narrator thoroughly enjoyable and enthralling to listen

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Last Summer

I love Karen Swan stories so decided to buy this audio even though the story did not appeal to me. As other reviews mention, it is a very slow starter and the accent took a while to get used to. However, I absolutely fell in love with the characters and beautiful descriptions of the isle. I did not want it to end.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible!

This is the first Karen Swan book I’ve read but won’t be the last. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next but at the same time didn’t want it to end. Can’t wait for book 2 to be released next year to hear more of Effie’s story!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not sure if I’ve finished the book?

I’m confused by the ending - is that the ending or should I have another part to download?

Confused???

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great story.

I loved the story but found the narration very mono tone otherwise iI would have given it five stars.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Superb

This was quite different to Karen Swans other books but I absolutely loved it. The characters where so beautifully depicted as was life in St Kilda you felt like you were there. The exceptional detail of life and in the big house was wonderful. I can’t wait for the next book . I may listen to it again without having to hold
My breath. Katie Leung narrations brought Karen’s words to life. Bravo to all involved.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully recounted

The first in 'the wild' series. Other worldly and full of intrigue, Karen Swan is on form and Katie Leung keeps in rhythm with the author. The precipitous finale is worth the waiting of the next step into the second book!