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The Last Verse: A Novel (Hardcover)

The Last Verse: A Novel By Caroline Frost Cover Image
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"This novel is sexy, suspenseful, and boot-spur sharp." —Eli Cranor, Edgar-Award-winning author of Don't Know Tough 

Set in the country music world of 1970s Nashville, a struggling musician writes a hit song that both promises her long-sought-after fame and implicates her in a heinous crime. 

Nashville, 1977: A broken heart. A terrible crime. A song the world would sing.

When aspiring musician Twyla Finch arrives in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1977, the nineteen-year-old Texan is dazzled by the fringe-and-rhinestones country music scene. Live music flows from bars, open mic nights tempt with the chance of stardom, and record label execs seek the next hot new act.

As Twyla finds her way in this vibrant town, she soon falls for Chet Wilton, country music hopeful and son of blue-blooded Nashvillians. When a night out with Chet goes terribly wrong, Twyla finds herself involved in a shocking crime. Hoping to process what happened that fateful night, she composes a haunting ballad that she performs only once in an empty bar. But weeks later, when she turns on the radio, she hears another woman singing her song.

Twyla must decide: Should she claim her ballad and secure the fame she’s always wanted? Or stay quiet and avoid implicating herself in the terrible crime she’s desperate to put in the past?

Seductive and bold, tense and unflinching, The Last Verse is the story of a woman’s ambitions, obsessions, and determination to claim her voice.

About the Author

Caroline Frost has a Master of Professional Writing degree from the University of Southern California. She is the author of Shadows of Pecan Hollow, which won the Crook’s Corner Prize, was a finalist for the Golden Poppy Award, and was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. She currently resides in Pasadena, California, with her husband and three small children, but her roots in Texas run deep.

Praise For…

"I loved all the twists and turns in Caroline Frost's gripping exploration of what it means to be an artist, and a woman, and the intersection between the two. And the thought and care that went into the rich backdrop of the 1970s Nashville music scene was no small feat. The Last Verse is a hugely satisfying, cleverly layered, addictive read."  — Jami Attenberg, author of All This Could Be Yours

"Frost follows her award-winning debut with a sophomore slam dunk. The Last Verse is a blood-chilling crime novel set amidst 1970's Nashville, Tennessee. Don't let the rhinestones fool you, though. This novel is sexy, suspenseful, and boot-spur sharp. I feel lucky to have read it." — Eli Cranor, Edgar-Award-winning author of Don't Know Tough and Ozark Dogs

“[I]ntriguing…Frost turns many memorable phrases and each of the imperfect yet sympathetic characters are well-drawn…. Classic country fans will love this.” — Publishers Weekly

“Frost delivers a tearjerker fraught with complicated emotions.” — Booklist

“Told with the perfect amount of twang, The Last Verse pulls readers deep into the timeless allure of Music City and the raw female ambition that lights up the intimate stages of Nashville. An irresistible southern gothic dripping with atmosphere, Frost deftly weaves together class tensions, the struggle for country music stardom, and the vulnerability demanded of every artist trying to hit it big. A perfect read for fans of Taylor Swift or Kacey Musgraves.”   — Katy Hays, New York Times bestselling author of The Cloisters

The Last Verse is an intoxicating exploration of the agony of finding, losing, and reclaiming an artistic voice, set against the teeming, soulful backdrop of 1970s Nashville. Caroline Frost drew me whole into a cutting world of beauty, possibility, and pain, and its notes reverberated long after the final lines. A stunning, unforgettable work that solidifies Frost as one of my favorite writers working today.”  — Katie Gutierrez, bestselling author of More Than You’ll Ever Know

The Last Verse weaves a tale as plucky and fierce as the songs its heroine writes to heal her broken heart and discover her voice after an act of violence upends her world. This page-turner of a novel reminds us to trust our dreams while Frost’s voice crackles like a freshly pressed vinyl record.” — Laura Warrell, author of Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm

The Last Verse unfolds like a perfect country ballad, winding its way through a tale of heartbreak, perseverance, and redemption. And like the best songs, you’ll want to revisit it again and again, finding new depths and beauty each time. Immersive and suspenseful, this novel is not to be missed.” — Amy Meyerson, bestselling author of The Imperfects

“Caroline Frost reveals the sharp edge of a country star’s rhinestones in this compulsively readable story about a singular talent caught between dreams for her future and the secrets of her past. Haunting and lyrical, The Last Verse will have you turning pages and turning phrases over in your mind long after Twyla has sung her last note.”  — Emma Brodie, author of Songs in Ursa Major

“After a stunning debut, Caroline Frost is in enviable form for her sophomore novel, deftly blending sardonic humor with coming-of-age enlightenments and a breathtaking plot. The Last Verse is a big-hearted ballad that takes readers on a grand ole odyssey through bygone Nashville, replete with murder, mystery, and plenty of music. Frost is a wholly original writer and The Last Verse hits all the right notes.  — James Wade, Spur Award-winning author of Beasts of the Earth 

"With Shadows of Pecan Hollow, Caroline Frost delivers a stunner of a debut novel that reads more like the work of an accomplished master. Everything you could want in a novel is here: rich, evocative settings, conflicted loyalties and hearts, and a slow fuse of a plot that throws off plenty of sparks on its way to final ignition. This immersive, full-bodied novel will keep its hooks in you long after the last page is read, and marks the arrival of a tremendously wise and talented writer. I think we can look forward to many more fine books from Caroline Frost." — Ben Fountain, New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Country Burn Again

Paper Moon meets Badlands in this mesmerizing Texas backroads thriller, a twisty story of a runaway girl who finds a home and a desperate love on the road with an opportunistic criminal, and the long comet’s tail of their story. A notable debut, drenched in regional detail and told in a gritty, sensual prose.” — Janet Fitch, #1 New York Times bestselling author of White Oleander, on Shadows of Pecan Hollow

“How do we let go of a dark, menacing past, especially when a dangerous love still binds us to it? Frost’s extraordinary debut is about Kit, a young mother struggling to raise her daughter, and to erase her abduction at 13 by a thief, who coerced her into crime and into his heart. Dazzling, unexpected, and profound, this is a shattering page-turner about how love can twist our lives into something we no longer recognize, and how we might find our way back to our best selves and to the communities that just might save us. In a word: brilliant.”  — Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of With or Without You, on Shadows of Pecan Hollow

“Demonstrating a polished sense of setting and characterization, Frost crafts a deftly complex, psychologically astute, and deeply unsettling debut novel.” — Booklist on Shadows of Pecan Hollow

“Heart-rending… Frost puts her background as a marriage and family therapist to good use in crafting [main character] Kit. Less perceptive writers may have written Kit as a cli­ché, but Frost guides the reader to understand Kit’s story and the reasons behind her susceptibility to a charismatic egotist.” — BookPage on Shadows of Pecan Hollow

“What immense talent flows through this spellbinding story! Everything is here: magnetic characters, fierce momentum, and great authenticity of voice, place, and thought. I was stunned in the best possible way throughout. How does Caroline Frost do it, I marveled; how does she know this? What an amazing, rewarding feat of craftsmanship and love!”  — Elinor Lipman, author of Ms. Demeanor, on Shadows of Pecan Hollow

Shadows of Pecan Hollow is a hugely satisfying slow burn of a novel that builds to a wrenching, unforgettable blaze. Frost explores the lives of her complex, arresting characters with nuance, compassion, and an unwavering gaze. Highly recommended.” — Lou Berney, Edgar-award winning author of November Road

“Caroline Frost's beautiful and clear-eyed debut captures the huge comfort of even deeply flawed love and how our urge for survival can distort our lives as easily as it can straighten them into something true. But it also shows us that with enough patience, for ourselves as well as for others, we all have the capacity to heal even the most stubborn of wounds. These are characters you'll carry with you long after you've read the last page.” — Stacey Swann, author of Olympus, Texas, on Shadows of Pecan Hollow

“With a strong sense of time and place, Caroline Frost's debut novel weaves an authentic southern tale of need, necessity, survival, and forgiveness, with love as the enduring force that guides.” — Deb Spera, author of Call Your Daughter Home, on Shadows of Pecan Hollow

"He’s a charismatic criminal; she’s a dirt-streaked runaway who doesn’t feel pain. Their ensuing crime spree sits like a rock in your stomach, and fifteen years later, when he comes back to haunt her, you'll reach for your phone to dial 911. In this gorgeous, completely addictive debut of love gone bad, Caroline Frost churns up an atmosphere sinister and sour as wind whipping off the oil rigs in Galveston—and a heroine so toughened and feral, readers won't want to step out of her brave, quick-witted, leather-bound hide for a single moment." — Barbara Bourland, author of Fake Like Me, on Shadows of Pecan Hollow

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063265486
ISBN-10: 0063265486
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: March 5th, 2024
Pages: 368
Language: English