The Last Summer in Ireland by Noelle Harrison 

Published October 3, 2022 by Bookouture

About the Book: A lost girl. A mysterious house in Ireland. An invitation that changes everything.

Twenty years ago, at the end of a long hot Irish summer, three sisters submerge themselves in the cool lake at their home, Swan Hall. As Maeve and Aisling watch their beautiful younger sister Nuala laughing and splashing, droplets of water clinging to her dark hair, it is hard to hide their envy of her. But later that day, when Nuala drowns, they are devastated.

Now, as Iris scatters the ashes of her beloved mother Aisling onto the golden leaves of Central Park, she feels very alone. But then hope comes in an invitation across the sea to Ireland from her mother’s sister, Maeve – the sister Aisling left behind and never spoke to again.

Swan Hall is more than Iris could ever have dreamed, sitting on the edge of a lake, full of history. But its dark corridors and staircases are caked in dust, and Iris feels a sense of unease. And then she finds a diary – Nuala’s diary from the long hot summer she disappeared.

Iris’ mother never mentioned Nuala. Why would she have lied? As Iris reads Nuala’s slanting script, she uncovers dark secrets and shocking betrayals, and she begins to wonder: was Nuala’s death really an accident? Can Iris find the truth, and will it change everything she knows about her mother… and herself?

A completely compelling and gripping read about the heartbreak and secrets that tore three sisters apart. Fans of Lucinda Riley and Louise Douglas will love The Last Summer in Ireland.

Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Last Summer in Ireland is the story of the Kelly sisters of Roscommon, Ireland. It is told through the eyes of Iris Kelly, daughter of Aisling the oldest of the three. Aisling has recently been killed in an accident in New York, where she has been living for 18 years. Iris is alone, except for her godmother, Trina. She gets an invitation from her Aunt Maeve, who she has never met, to come to Ireland for Christmas. She decides to go and find out more about her mother’s past and find family. What awaits her are secrets, Swan Hall, a lake that calls to her and family.

This story is full of secrets. Iris learns about Nuala, her mother’s youngest sister, who drowned when she was only 16. She had never heard about this aunt. Swan Hall was a beautiful home from the outside, but inside it was cold and dismal, exactly how Iris felt while there. The story is told by Iris, with flashbacks from Aisling and Nuala’s diary extracts, which Iris had found. We learn about what it was like to be a woman living in Ireland in the 1970’s and the loss of their rights. I must say that the Kelly sisters were not very likable. They were mean to one another, selfish and only worried about what they wanted. They lost their mother when they were young and were raised by an angry, alcoholic father, but instead of bringing them together, it pitted them against one another. Even though I disliked several of the characters, I found it hard to put this one down. The story was full of twists and turns, as well as mystery. I wanted to know what was going to happen and whether we would find out what really happened to Nuala. I enjoyed the various timelines and was invested in all of them. As secrets were revealed, I had several aha moments. The last chapter, told by Ruairi Caffrey, a Garda Iris has met when in Roscommon, brings the story full circle and into the present. There is mention of “the troubles” in Ireland and the IRA, but it is not a major part of the story. There was just enough to fit the history and events during the time the story is set, and a surprising reveal. I recommend this book for anyone that enjoys dual timeline story about family, secrets and mystery. I received a copy of this book from the publisher upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.

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About the Author: Noelle is an Irish author who’s been writing novels and plays for nearly thirty years and her books have been published in over 12 different countries.

She is also published under the pen name Evie Blake and her Valentina Trilogy hit the Der Spiegel Bestseller List in 2013.

In 2014 Noelle was one of 56 Irish Writers included in the anthology and exhibition Lines of Vision Irish Writers on Art at the National Gallery of Ireland, and published by Thames & Hudson.

She has also written five plays – Northern Landscapes, Black Virgin, Runaway Wife, The Good Sister, and Witches’ Gets, which featured in Cymera and Audacious Women Festivals in Edinburgh to sell out houses.

Noelle currently lives in Edinburgh in Scotland, and is one of the founders of Aurora Writers’ Retreats, and part of the wellness hub The Space To BE.

If you like stories written from the heart, historical with contemporary timeslip, family mysteries and secrets, and always, always a love story set against evocative landscapes, you might like to pick up one of her books. Her aim is to tell women’s stories from the past and present and to give voice to those who are rarely heard. Want to know more about Noelle and her writing, visit her website at

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