The Last Cruise: A Novel

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The Queen Isabella is about to be retired, but before that happens the ship will make one more voyage, a cruise inspired by its first outing in 1957, complete with midcentury music, cocktails, and a menu to match. This setting for Kate Christensen’s The Last Cruise allows for tension and tumult as the crew and several key passengers are forced to come together in an hour of chaos and potential tragedy.

Christine, the wife of a Maine farmer questioning the choices that have brought her to this point, meets her dearest friend Valerie aboard the cruise. Valerie, a journalist, surreptitiously interviews the crew for her new book while she attempts—and fails—to relax. The two women are thrust into sunshine and languor against an orchestrated backdrop that includes classic French cuisine prepared by Hungarian chef Mick and the soundtrack of a string quartet anchored by the fierce octogenarian violinist Miriam. It is these three characters, Christine, Mick, and Miriam, who lead us through the intricate and involved narrative that is The Last Cruise.

The crew, disgruntled for good reason, stages a walkout that coincidentally occurs just as a small engine fire leads to a loss of power aboard the ship. This coincidence is a bit too precious and makes the tension of the book somewhat forced. The walkout or the fire and power outage alone would be enough to draw these characters into a critical moment, but the two together are a bit much. That being said, the central message of the book—that life is full of random moments and it is important to honor those moments and who we truly are, in our hearts—is still worth reading.


Reviewed By:

Author Kate Christensen
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 304 pages
Publisher Doubleday
Publish Date 2018-Jul-10
ISBN 9780385536288
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue December 2018
Category Historical Fiction
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