Thrilled to bits to join the blog tour for The Last Thing To Burn by Will Dean today! Huge thanks to Jenny Platt at Hodder & Stoughton for the invitation to join and the fabulous review copy.
Author : Will Dean
Title : The Last Thing To Burn
Pages : 255
Publisher : Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date : January 7, 2021
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
Her husband calls her Jane. That is not her name.
She lives in a small farm cottage, surrounded by vast, open fields. Everywhere she looks, there is space. But she is trapped. No one knows how she got to the UK: no one knows she is there. Visitors rarely come to the farm; if they do, she is never seen.
Her husband records her every movement during the day. If he doesn’t like what he sees, she is punished.
For a long time, escape seemed impossible. But now, something has changed. She has a reason to live and a reason to fight. Now, she is watching him, and waiting.
| MY THOUGHTS |
Turn away now if you’re looking for a light and fluffy story to escape reality with because believe me, this is SO not it.
If you’ve been following my blog, then Will Dean’s name should look familiar to you as I’ve raved about his Tuva Moodyson series quite a bit in the last few years. The Last Thing To Burn marks his first stand-alone thriller and holy Swedish meatballs, what a thriller it is! With its 250 something pages, this story may be a tad on the short side but it packs punch after punch I will not be forgetting any time soon.
I don’t want to say too much about the plot, beyond what’s up there in the book description. Suffice to say not-Jane came to England expecting an entirely different life than the one she ended up with. When the reader is first introduced to her character, she has four possessions left. Four things her not-husband can still take away from her as punishment. Four things that help her hang on to her true self. But things are about to change.
This massively disturbing topic often makes for some seriously uncomfortable reading. As it should! The line between fiction and reality becomes extremely blurry at times because it takes no effort at all to realise these things are happening in the world right now. While reading, there was this constant voice in the back of my head reminding me that there are people like not-Jane who are desperately looking for a way out, which added a whole other layer of realism and believability that I’m not entirely sure I was prepared for.
There is a sense of hopelessness that drips from the pages and also of desolation. Not only concerning not-Jane’s dire situation but the entire place around her, from the mould on the walls to the empty fields and the vast landscape. Will Dean’s vivid descriptions really brought the setting alive, giving it that extra dimension. It is remarkably easy to get lost in not-Jane’s desperation, of not seeing a way out, of desperately trying to find something to hold on to, a reason to fight another day, to survive another day.Throughout, the tension builds up which pushed me to keep on reading late into the night as I just had to know how things would end.
The Last Thing To Burn is an absolute corker of a book, in my most humble opinion of course. A heartbreaking, dark, chilling, harrowing and sometimes brutal story of survival, of determination but also of hope that will get under your skin and stay there for quite a while. But also an incredibly thought-provoking story that made me count my blessings and be immensely grateful for the life I have.
There’s a reason Will Dean’s name is on my list of go-to authors and with The Last Thing To Burn he shows he can tackle anything. I highly recommend this one! Why yes, I am aware it’s only January but guess which book you’ll be seeing again on my “books of the year” list at the end of 2021.
| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |
Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands and had lived in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. After studying Law at the LSE and working in London, he settled in rural Sweden where he built a house in a boggy clearing at the centre of a vast elk forest, and it’s from this base that he compulsively reads and writes.
His debut novel, Dark Pines, was selected for Zoe Ball’s Book Club, shortlisted for the Guardian Not the Booker prize and named a DailyTelegraph Book of theYear.The second Tuva Moodyson mystery, Red Snow, was published in January 2019 and won Best IndependentVoice at theAmazon Publishing Readers’ Awards, 2019.
The Last Thing to Burn is his first standalone novel and his first book with Hodder.