Laura Dave’s The Last Thing He Told Me is a thrilling, moving novel of love in the face of lies. The need for family and the sacrifices one makes for that family is the heart and soul of the book. The outcome will move you to tears.
Emotion aside, the story is a fascinating mystery without being a who-done-it. Murder is not the theme. Instead, protecting family is. And yet, the protection comes at a cost. Can the protagonist give up the love of her life to provide stability to a teenager? A sixteen-year-old angry at having a stepmom?
Love at First Sight
Hannah Hall meets Owen Michaels when he accompanies his boss to check on a custom order. Hannah is a woodturner of high-quality furniture. She lives in New York City. Owen is a computer coder. He lives in Sausalito. They connect.
Two short years later, Hannah is opening the door to their houseboat. A twelve-year-old hands her a cryptic note from Owen. And the hunt begins. A hunt for Owen and a hunt for the truth. The search is hampered by her estranged relationship with her stepdaughter Bailey. But they both are desperate to find Owen and the truth.
Their search leads to Austin, Texas and unfathomable revelations.
The Last Thing He Told Me uses flashback chapters to offer an explanation. The author easily moves the reader in and out of the present. The voice always of Hannah. But Laura Dave is masterful at conveying the heartbreak of all three principles through action and dialogue. The reader aches for both main and secondary characters. This is quite an accomplishment with a single point-of-view.
Moral questions are asked and answered by the characters as they push for the truth. The only constant for young Bailey is the determination of Hannah to find the answers. Gradually, albeit reluctantly at first, the teenager learns to trust her stepmom in the face of abandonment.
Recommendation for The Last Thing He Told Me
This book moved me to tears. Love and self-sacrifice always tug at this reader’s heartstrings. The plot is plausible and the settings act as reminders to any travelers of the highlighted cities. However, the characters are the heart of The Last Thing He Told Me.
And the ending…is it happy or sad? I can see book clubs and literature students taking either side. Read it and decide for yourself. This book is on my buy list.