Review: The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

Review: The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake is an interesting retelling of Twelfth Night. There are strong themes of family and friendship in the story. However, there is more focus on romance in the novel than I would have preferred.

Review: The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia DrakeTitle: The Last True Poets of the Sea
Author: Julia Drake
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Rating: three-half-stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

The Larkin family isn't just lucky—they persevere. At least that's what Violet and her younger brother, Sam, were always told. When the Lyric sank off the coast of Maine, their great-great-great-grandmother didn't drown like the rest of the passengers. No, Fidelia swam to shore, fell in love, and founded Lyric, Maine, the town Violet and Sam returned to every summer.

But wrecks seem to run in the family: Tall, funny, musical Violet can't stop partying with the wrong people. And, one beautiful summer day, brilliant, sensitive Sam attempts to take his own life.

Shipped back to Lyric while Sam is in treatment, Violet is haunted by her family's missing piece-the lost shipwreck she and Sam dreamed of discovering when they were children. Desperate to make amends, Violet embarks on a wildly ambitious mission: locate the Lyric, lain hidden in a watery grave for over a century.

She finds a fellow wreck hunter in Liv Stone, an amateur local historian whose sparkling intelligence and guarded gray eyes make Violet ache in an exhilarating new way. Whether or not they find the Lyric, the journey Violet takes-and the bridges she builds along the way-may be the start of something like survival.

Epic, funny, and sweepingly romantic, The Last True Poets of the Sea is an astonishing debut about the strength it takes to swim up from a wreck.

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❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃

Review: The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

It has been a while since I have read Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, but the connections that Drake makes in The Last True Poets of the Sea are intriguing. The characters are loosely similar, and the plot line of Viola (Violet) and Olivia is one that is quite prominent in this reimagined story. Also, the search for the shipwreck adds a layer of mystery to the book that is really entertaining to read about.

❀ Themes of Family and Friendship

Themes of family and friendship are always ones that are enjoyable in contemporary fiction. The relationships that Violet has with her family are strained, but there is a strong connection that is pulling her back to them. It is also refreshing to see Violet let down some of her walls and forge friendships with some of the teens in the small town of Lyric.

❀ Too Much Romance

While I enjoy a great romance novel, this is one book that could have focused less on the love story. Without giving away too much of the plot, there is a love triangle that is a bit disappointing in my opinion. If this had been handled differently, the book would definitely be that much more interesting.

❀ Great for a fall TBR

If you love a Shakespeare retelling, and books that feature families and friendships, this is one to check out. The story is enjoyable, but there is a bit more romance than necessary. The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake is a great addition to a fall TBR.

Book Quotes: The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake


Fun fact: my great-great-great grandmother was the lone survivor of a shipwreck.

For a long time, my parents liked to point to this story as evidence of family strength.


A feeling of wonder stirred in my chest. Maybe this wasn’t what Toby had meant by clearing my head, but in the urchin’s grip, I felt smooth and cool as sea glass.

About Julia Drake

Julia Drake

Julia Drake grew up outside Philadelphia. As a teenager, she played some of Shakespeare's best heroines in her high school theater program and their stories would stay with her forever. She received her BA in Spanish from Williams College, and her MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, where she also taught writing to first-year students. She currently works as a book coach for aspiring writers and teaches creative writing classes for Writopia Lab, a nonprofit that fosters love of writing in young adults. She lives in San Francisco with her partner and their rescue rabbit, Ned.

21 thoughts on “Review: The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

  1. Beware Of The Reader says:

    Well it is unusual when there is too much romance for mebut I get what you mean. It happened once for me and it was because I did not believe in it!

    • Lori says:

      I agree! When it is specifically marketed as a romance novel, you know exactly what you are going to get yourself into. I had higher hopes here, I guess.

  2. Debra Branigan says:

    Thanks for your thoughts on this one. I do love anything “Shakespeare” so I will probably read this anyway.

  3. Sandy Klocinski says:

    Awesome things going on in this book. Beautiful cover. I like romance in my books but not if they are plotless

  4. Mary Gardner says:

    I am not a huge romance fan and would have preferred if the book stayed more focused on family and friendship relationships. I’m not sure I would enjoy this one. Thanks for the honest review.

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