Unto This Last is a historical fiction centred around John Ruskin the Victorian era art critic amongst many other things. Before reading this book I had perhaps heard of Ruskin but didn’t know too much about him. Despite this lack of previous knowledge I found Unto This Last a detailed and interesting depiction of Ruskin’s connection to Rose La Touche.
I found that this book was very well written, it seemed to me to be written in the style of a period novel while also managing to maintain a degree of self awareness that I thought allowed for a more critical eye on a range of topics such as mental health and Victorian attitudes in reference to women.
I think the relationship between Ruskin and La Touche is quite delicately handled, with Ruskin coming across as almost naïve to me early in the story. I also particularly liked the additional literary nods throughout the book. The title itself is taken from one of Ruskin’s works and the chapter heading “State of Denmark” as a nod to Shakespeare's Hamlet are great examples that I noticed. I think that this book has been very well-researched and written with real insight. I think that anyone who enjoys period novels would enjoy this book without needing to know a great deal about the main character beforehand. The book covers an extended period and also fills in details about Ruskin’s early years and first marriage. I also think this is perhaps a great starting point for any interested reader to do more research on John Ruskin’s life.
I would say that Unto This Last is a substantial and yet fascinating read that provides a considered look at the life and work of John Ruskin.
Passionate, contradictory, and fiercely loyal to his friends, John Ruskin is an eccentric genius, famed across Britain for his writings on art and philosophy. Haunted by a scandalous past and determined never to love again, the 39-year-old Ruskin becomes infatuated with his enigmatic young student, Rose La Touche, an obsession with profound consequences that will change the course of his life and work.
Written in a style recalling Victorian literature and spanning a period of twenty years, the story poses questions about the nature of love, the boundaries of parenthood, and compatibility in marriage. Unto This Last is a portrait of Ruskin's tormented psyche and reveals a complex and misunderstood soul, longing for a life just out of reach.
|Publication date:||27th August 2020|
|Publisher:||Book Guild Publishing Ltd|
|Primary Genre||Indie Author Books|
Rebecca Lipkin was home-schooled from the age of twelve due to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that left her bed-bound for many years. Rebecca cultivated a passion for Victorian art and literature from the confines of her room and it was during this time that she first discovered John Ruskin. Recovering enough strength to walk again after five years in bed, she joined the Ruskin Society as its youngest member, aged seventeen, where she furthered her knowledge about Ruskin. Through her own research, she learnt about Ruskin's fascinating relationship with Rose La Touche, a story that, ten years later, ...More About Rebecca Lipkin