The Last Word

The Last Word

by Samantha Hastings


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Set against the smoky, gaslit allure of Victorian London, this sweetly romantic historical debut is full of humor and stars a whip-smart female heroine ahead of her time.

Where one story ends, another begins.

1861. Miss Lucinda Leavitt is shocked when she learns the author of her favorite serialized novel has died before completing the story. Determined to learn how it ends, Lucinda reluctantly enlists the help of her father’s young business partner, Mr. David Randall, to track down the reclusive author’s former whereabouts.

David is a successful young businessman, but is overwhelmed by his workload. He wants to prove himself to his late father, as well as to himself. He doesn’t have the time, nor the interest, for this endeavor, but Lucinda is not the type to take no for an answer.

Their search for the elusive Mrs. Smith and the rightful ending to her novel leads Lucinda and David around the country, but the truths they discover about themselves—and each other—are anything but fictional.

Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan's young adult imprint Swoon Reads, The Last Word by debut author Samantha Hastings is a fun yet intellectual romp through Victorian London—the perfect book for book-lovers.

Praise for The Last Word:

“Make[s] history accessible to YA readers. It's light, fun, and has a modern flare that many readers will appreciate.” —Cassie Rose, reader on

"I adored this story, especially all of the characters and the very fitting humor and modern messages. ... This book was amazing!" —Bluestar, reader on

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250301888
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: 07/09/2019
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 144,405
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Samantha Hastings has worked as a tennis instructor, janitor, basketball referee, adjunct college faculty, teen librarian, and now as an author. She has a BA in History from Brigham Young University, an MA in English from the University of Reading (in Berkshire, England), and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas. She met her husband in a turkey sandwich line. They live in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she spends most of her time reading, eating popcorn, and chasing her kids. The Last Word is her debut novel.

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The Last Word 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous 11 days ago
This was loads of fun. It's super fast paced, told mostly in dialogue with a tight group of characters that leap through dances, teas, carriage rides, and house parties while falling in love and finding their places in society. There's just enough family drama and societal conflict to flesh out the world, while the narrative focuses tightly on the romance between its two protagonists. Lucy is a modern heroine in a period setting and I think readers will enjoy seeing how she navigates her world and finds fulfillment both in and out of her romance. The literary references are laid in lightly, a fun bonus for anyone who catches them, but they work well as texture for anyone not well versed in 19th century literature. This is a book more about feeling than about knowing stuff. The search for information about an unfinished book provides the motivation to get the lovers together on their journey toward each other. If you like long held glances, almost kisses, and characters who play at love until they feel it for real, you'll thoroughly enjoy this!
Kimberly_Gabriel 11 days ago
I was really wanting a swoony romance with a strong, witty heroine and this book went beyond my expectations fulfilling that. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the witty banter between Lucinda and David. Both main characters (just like the secondary characters in this book) were fully fleshed out to the point where I find myself missing them now that I'm done reading. I LOVE the setting and the fact that Hastings made this a historical fiction book. Being a Bronte and Austin fan (both of whom are mentioned in this book), I was thrilled to have that literary feel mixed with page-turning anticipation. This book, with its clever plot, its characters that pop off the page, and its sweet, gripping romance, makes for an unforgettable read.
Anonymous 11 days ago
I really enjoyed Samantha Hastings's debut novel, THE LAST WORD!! It's totally my type of book since I'm a sucker for historicals and anything inspired by British literature. Here are my top 5 favorite things about THE LAST WORD: The main character, Lucinda, is gifted at doing figures and calculations (a historical girl in STEM!). The male protagonist, Daniel, isn't threatened by the fact that Lucinda happens to be better at math than he is, despite his patriarchal Victorian upbringing. Lucinda's love of books! Lucinda as a character--she's stubborn and spunky and a go-getter who knows what she wants and how to get it, but she isn't so headstrong that she can't learn from her experience. All the allusions to 19th century literature. Bonus fun: Lucinda's companion Mrs. Patton and her snoring. Bottom line: If you're looking for a fun, cute historical YA with a swoon-worthy romance, you need to pick up THE LAST WORD!!
kozbisa 14 days ago
It wasn't easy being a young woman in 1861. All Lucinda wanted to do was contribute to her father's business, but society dictated that she belonged in the home, bored to tears. When one of her favorite authors died before finishing their book, Lucinda was determined to get those last pages. This search for the "ending" resulted in more than Lucinda had ever anticipated. • Pro: I rarely read historicals, but for some reason, the majority seem to be set during this time period, and I always enjoy it. I am always amused by how prim and proper everyone was, and love seeing characters toppling that barrier. • Pro: Her father tried his hardest to turn Lucinda into a proper lady, but she could not keep that much spirit under wraps. It was fun seeing all the little ways she pushed the boundaries, and David's reactions to her shenanigans were priceless. • Pro: Speaking of David, he was a great match for Lucinda. Unlike most men of that time period, he delighted in Lucinda's mathematical brilliance, curiosity, and desire to do more than write letters and work on her needlepoint. • Pro: Lucinda won my heart. She was fierce, determined, and very much an independent thinker. That girl had moxie, and I loved the way she challenged people and their ideas of who she should be. • Pro: It was wonderful watching the spark between spark ignite between these two former friends. The interactions between David and Lucinda were sweet and fun and packed with snappy banter. There were these seriously swoony parts too, that just melted my heart. The romance between these two was absolutely precious, and I was shipping them the whole time. • Pro: I think readers will appreciate the feminist messages permeating the story. Lucinda was definitely a woman ahead of her time. Overall: A fun and charming romance between a lovely hero and a spirited heroine, which was filled with a little action, a bit of mystery, witty banter, and lots of swoons.