The Last Telegram

Front Cover
Sourcebooks, Incorporated, 2013 - Fiction - 405 pages
2 Reviews

"A book to savor."-Kate Furnivall, author of The Russian Concubine

We all make mistakes. Some we can fix.
But what happens when we can't?

Decades ago, as Nazi planes dominated the sky, Lily Verner made a terrible choice. She's tried to forget, but now an unexpected event pulls her back to the 1940s British countryside. She finds herself remembering the brilliant colors of the silk she helped to weave at her family's mill, the relentless pressure of the worsening war, and the kind of heartbreaking loss that stops time.

In this evocative novel of love and consequences, Lily finally confronts the disastrous decision that has haunted her all these years. The Last Telegram uncovers the surprising truth about how the stories we weave about our lives are threaded with truth, guilt, and forgiveness.

"Sparked my interest from the start...charming."-Sharon Knoth, Between the Covers, Harbor Springs, MI

"This book will easily appeal to fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and I can see it quickly becoming a favorite of book clubs."-Billie Bloebaum, Powell's Books

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Reviewed by June J. McInerney for
The many facets of love weaving through our lives and the consequential choices they force us to make is the underpinning theme of THE LAST
TELEGRAM (April 2013) by Liz Trenow. In this stark and stirring first novel, published earlier in the United Kingdom, Lily Vernon comes of age in England during World War II. At eighteen, foregoing plans to travel the world, she reluctantly becomes a weaver in the family’s silk mill and quickly becomes enmeshed in the business. When her father, Harold Verner, hires three German-Jewish refugees, Lily falls in love with Stefan, the eldest brother, much to the dismay of her parents who wished her to marry wealthy Robbie Cameron, a parachute manufacturer. Headstrong and determined, Lily barrels ahead with her romance despite Robbie’s advances and the horrific impediments of war. Her rashness creates complications that force her to make a choice with unforeseen and devastatingly tragic consequences.
This saga begins sixty years later on the afternoon of Lily’s husband’s funeral. When her young granddaughter says she is going to take a parachute jump, Lily becomes distraught and is thrown into the cataclysmic morass of memories in which she vividly relives the events that precipitated her lifetime of guilt. A skillful writer, Trenow easily segues back into the past where she masterfully unfolds Lily’s story woven with romance tinged with intrigue and suspense. Her descriptions are so lucid that I felt I was actually reliving Lily’s life; her characters, including Lily, so real and complex that I thought I actually knew them.
With war’s harshness as its backdrop, and enlightening details of how the silk trade helped the war effort, this novel explores the timeless puzzles of love—whom we love and those who love us. Not only is Lily in love with Stefan, but she also shares other kinds of love, often fraught with misunderstanding and life-altering consequences. A deeply rich and heartfelt read, this is fundamentally a tragedy. Yet, it is also full of hope and absolution. It is a tastefully appointed story in which the reader can freely cry for and along with its characters, as well as loudly cheer each of them on.
The quotes from THE HISTORY OF SILK written by Harold Verner, Lily’s father, which prefix each chapter, add a sub-textual richness to Trenow’s narrative. She brings to it her first-hand knowledge of the silk trade in which her family has been weavers for almost 300 years. In writing about what she knows, Trenow has created an insightfully sensitive and splendid read that mature readers are sure to enjoy. Almost as luxurious as silk itself.

Review: The Last Telegram

User Review  - Marsha Tabor - Goodreads

This was one of those rare achingly beautiful novels that kinda scares you when you first start reading it because you know before its over your heart will never be the will love, lose ... Read full review

About the author (2013)

Liz Trenow is a former BBC and newspaper journalist, now working freelance. She is also the author of The Last Telegram.

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