THE LAST THING TO BURN
On an isolated farm in the United Kingdom, a woman is trapped by the monster who kidnapped her seven years ago. When she discovers she is pregnant, she resolves to protect her child no matter the cost, and starts to meticulously plan her escape. But when another woman is brought into the fold on the farm, her plans go awry. Can she save herself, her child, and this innocent woman at the same time? Or is she doomed to spend the remainder of her life captive on this farm?
Oof! What can be said about Will Dean’s The Last Thing to Burn? It throws up a lot of uncomfortable and difficult subjects that are painful to read but it’s also so completely engaging that I finished it all in one sitting.
Thanh Dao is a woman trafficked to England in hope of a better life and instead is sold as a wife to a man on an isolated farm who destroys her possessions one by one if she defies him. The menacing undertones of the book makes for a sinister read and we are fully committed into Thanh’s journey. The book is so well paced that we are constantly finding out new information, whether it be the reason why Thanh’s ankle is so damaged or Lenn’s obsession with his mother, there is a lot of depth in the plot which is drip fed to us to keep us on our toes.
Although written by a male author, the female topics of periods, sex, giving birth and motherhood are really carefully drawn and evoke feeling throughout. All of the characters feel so well defined, even the awful Lenn. I liked Thanh’s defiant thoughts that stay with her even when she is unable to vocalise them, the most common being ‘Jane is not my name’. It’s one of those books that certainly needs a trigger warning and I understand will not be for everyone but if you can stomach it, it’s an important and heart-breaking story.
Overall, The Last Thing to Burn is a powerful and disturbing story that stays with you long after you put it down. Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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