Book club questions for The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave examines all the twists in this engaging mystery and character study. There will be spoilers so for more context about the book, check out my spoiler-free review first.
I really enjoyed this one! Definitely one of the best books that Reese has selected for her book club. There’s so much to discuss. As I mentioned in my review, I had no idea where the story was going and just went along with the ride.
The strongest part of the novel, by far, is the relationship between Hannah and Bailey. That also didn’t go in a direction I expected. Lots of surprises in store with regards to character development and motivation.
Before Owen Michaels disappears, he smuggles a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers—Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.
As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered, as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss, as a US marshal and federal agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.
Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they’re also building a new future—one neither of them could have anticipated.
With its breakneck pacing, dizzying plot twists, and evocative family drama, The Last Thing He Told Meis a riveting mystery, certain to shock you with its final, heartbreaking turn.
The Last Thing He Told Me Book Club Questions
- When you first read that Owen went missing, what did you think happened?
- Owen’s note to Hannah says—protect her. We know he’s talking about Bailey and protecting her from the past. Why didn’t Owen write more to Hannah? Do you believe he expected her to eventually figure out his past?
- On that same note, why did Owen conceal his past to both Hannah and Bailey? How would you react if your spouse deceived you about the central details of their life?
- Why was Bailey so cold to Hannah in the beginning? When did she began to warm up to her?
- Hannah’s parents pretty much deserted her and she was raised by her grandfather. So she was not used to being part of a family unit. Let’s talk about how Hannah and Bailey eventually became each other’s “found” family.
- Hannah eventually realizes that Owen has connections to Austin, Texas. So she takes Bailey there to see if they could find out the truth about the past. Do you agree with Hannah’s decision to go to Austin? What would you have done if you were Hannah?
- We eventually find out that Owen lived a completely different life than what was portrayed. His name is actually Ethan and Bailey’s is Kristin. He took Bailey away from Austin after testifying against his father-in-law and the crime syndicate. What did you think about all these reveals?
- Why did Hannah go to Nicholas herself?
- Should Hannah have agreed to go into witness protection program with Owen and Bailey or did she make the right decision in making a deal with Nicholas so Bailey could keep her identity?
- Do you think Bailey ever managed a relationship with Nicholas or any her cousins?
- Why do you think the author decided to use titles for each chapter?
- The last chapter is titled Five Years Later. Or Eight. Or Ten. Why such a vague timeframe? Does this mean that Hannah sees a glimpse of Owen ever so often? Or was that the first time she’s truly seen him? Is there ever a chance for Owen to reunite with Hannah and Bailey?
- Let’s talk about the significance of Bailey calling Hannah mom at the end of the story.
- Julia Roberts is going to play Hannah in the TV version of this story. What are your thoughts on the casting? What elements of the book do you think they’ll include in the show?
Hope you enjoyed book club questions for The Last Thing He Told Me! Here are some more recommendations along with links to book club questions.
The Kindest Lie by Nancy Johnson
A promise could betray you.
It’s 2008, and the inauguration of President Barack Obama ushers in a new kind of hope. In Chicago, Ruth Tuttle, an Ivy-League educated Black engineer, is married to a kind and successful man. He’s eager to start a family, but Ruth is uncertain. She has never gotten over the baby she gave birth to—and was forced to leave behind—when she was a teenager. She had promised her family she’d never look back, but Ruth knows that to move forward, she must make peace with the past.
Returning home, Ruth discovers the Indiana factory town of her youth is plagued by unemployment, racism, and despair. As she begins digging into the past, she unexpectedly befriends Midnight, a young white boy who is also adrift and looking for connection. Just as Ruth is about to uncover a burning secret her family desperately wants to keep hidden, a traumatic incident strains the town’s already searing racial tensions, sending Ruth and Midnight on a collision course that could upend both their lives.
Powerful and revealing, The Kindest Lie captures the heartbreaking divide between Black and white communities and offers both an unflinching view of motherhood in contemporary America and the never-ending quest to achieve the American Dream.
The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult
Everything changes in a single moment for Dawn Edelstein. She’s on a plane when the flight attendant makes an announcement: Prepare for a crash landing. She braces herself as thoughts flash through her mind. The shocking thing is, the thoughts are not of her husband but of a man she last saw fifteen years ago: Wyatt Armstrong.
Dawn, miraculously, survives the crash, but so do all the doubts that have suddenly been raised. She has led a good life. Back in Boston, there is her husband, Brian, their beloved daughter, and her work as a death doula, in which she helps ease the transition between life and death for her clients.
But somewhere in Egypt is Wyatt Armstrong, who works as an archaeologist unearthing ancient burial sites, a career Dawn once studied for but was forced to abandon when life suddenly intervened. And now, when it seems that fate is offering her second chances, she is not as sure of the choice she once made.
After the crash landing, the airline ensures that the survivors are seen by a doctor, then offers transportation to wherever they want to go. The obvious destination is to fly home, but she could take another path: return to the archaeological site she left years before, reconnect with Wyatt and their unresolved history, and maybe even complete her research on The Book of Two Ways—the first known map of the afterlife.
As the story unfolds, Dawn’s two possible futures unspool side by side, as do the secrets and doubts long buried with them. Dawn must confront the questions she’s never truly asked: What does a life well lived look like? When we leave this earth, what do we leave behind? Do we make choices . . . or do our choices make us? And who would you be if you hadn’t turned out to be the person you are right now?