The Last Word
Samantha Hastings 

Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: July 9th 2019
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult

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.


Lucinda fought the urge to roll her eyes; he was more handsome than she remembered. In the four years since she last saw him, his face had lost some of its youthfulness. Thick brown sideburns now ran down each side of his face, elongating his square jaw. His light brown eyes looked at her in surprise, and he stood up. He was one of the few men that was taller than Lucinda, at least six feet tall. It felt odd to look up to speak.
“Is there something I can help you with, ma’am—miss?” he asked in a pleasant tone.
He clearly didn’t recognize her.
“I have never thought highly of your intelligence, Mr. Randall,” Lucinda said, “but really, you should be able to remember your partner’s only daughter.”
Lucinda felt pleasure in seeing his eyes widen and his jaw drop. She smiled and took a seat. She gestured her hand for him to sit down as well. He sat down, perched on the edge of his chair like he was on a social call instead of sitting in his own office.
“There is something you can help me with since my father is not here,” Lucinda said. His jaw dropped slightly lower. “Do not worry, it does not require any great effort on your part. I need you to accompany me to a publishing house and get me an appointment with the editor.”
“A publishing house?”
“Yes, the place where they publish things,” Lucinda said, as if he were a small child.
David did not respond immediately, but blinked at her as if he thought she was an apparition caused by the excessive heat.
“As much as I would like to assist you, Miss Leavitt,” David said at last, “I am afraid that I have far too much work to do today.”
He pointed to the stack of ledgers on his desk.
“I should not wish to keep you from your work.” Lucinda turned in her seat to look at the door where Mr. Murphy was standing waiting patiently. “Mr. Murphy, would you be so good as to tell my coachman, Simms, to take Mrs. Patton home and then return here for me?”
Lucinda turned back to David as Mr. Murphy disappeared to do as she asked. She placed her magazine on his desk, then removed her gloves and bonnet. “Which one shall I start with?” she asked, smiling brightly.
He did not immediately reply, so Lucinda took the ledger from the top of the stack and picked up David’s pen. She flipped to the last page and carefully began examining the columns, adding the numbers in her head.
“I have already done that one,” David said as he pulled another pen out of his desk drawer and placed it on the ledger he’d been checking when she walked in.
“I know,” Lucinda said, circling the third line over. “But you missed a mistake. The clerk is off a farthing in this column.”
“Thank you, Miss Leavitt,” David said drily. “A quarter of a penny matters a great deal to our company’s financial success.”
Lucinda shrugged her shoulders and muttered audibly, “It’s still a mistake.”
She handed the ledger back to David. He took it and then handed her another.
“I am grateful for your assistance,” he said in a tone that sounded anything but thankful.
“I’m sure you are,” she said. She loved numbers. She loved adding the impossibly high sums in her head with no other assistance but her mind. She checked the next ledger. Then the next. And finally, between the two of them, they had completed ten ledgers. She handed the last book back to David.
“I daresay, Simms has probably returned with the carriage by now,” she said. “It is only a few blocks to my home and back. Shall we go to the publishing house?”
“The place that publishes things,” David clarified with a small smile.
Lucinda wished to slap it from his face, but she was on her best behavior. So instead she nodded and said, “Precisely.”
Lucinda pulled on her gloves and bonnet, then picked up her magazine as David put on his coat and his tall beaver top hat.
She could not wipe off the smug look on her face. She didn’t even try to.

Author Bio

Samantha Hastings has degrees from Brigham Young University, the University of Reading (Berkshire, England), and 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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