Review: The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

by Heather Caliendo
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Editorial note: I received a copy of The Last Thing He Told Me in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave is a compelling mystery about one woman’s search for her missing husband.

I’ve read all the Reese picks for 2021 up until May and I have enjoyed The Last Thing He Told Me the most by far! This one has been on my radar for a while (I even selected it for a May 2021 book club pick) and I was so pumped to see Reese select this novel.

And in case you missed it, the book is already being prepared for a TV series with Julia Roberts in the lead role and Reese serving as executive producer. I have to say, after reading the novel I don’t so much envision Julia in the lead role but I could have totally seen Reese. Or even someone like Mila Kunis who I believe is the same age as the protagonist. But I’m sure it will still be great with Julia!

This story is SO good. Such a page turner and kept me guessing until the end. But it’s not your typical thriller or mystery by any means.

What’s the Story About

We follow the story from the perspective of Hannah. She’s a woman happily in love with her husband Owen and trying to develop some type of connection with her stepdaughter, Bailey. Except Bailey can barely tolerate her. Thinking this was going to be the worst of her problems, Hannah is hit with a huge curveball when Owen goes missing. And not only that, the FBI arrests his boss and soon a US marshal and federal agents are coming to Hannah’s house to gauge Owen’s involvement and maybe even more.

Hannah quickly learns that Owen is not who she thought he was. But she’s determined to find out the truth, while holding on to hope that her husband is still a good man. Hannah and Bailey take it upon themselves to find out the truth about Owen. They’ll discover so much more too.

Mystery

This is a slow burn mystery with a dash of a character study as well. I really like mysteries that take a big examination of a character’s motivations. That kind of writing really makes these stories stand out. This novel is told in two timelines—one in the present where Hannah and Bailey are trying to figure out what is happening and the second consists of flashbacks when Hannah and Owen fall in love. Each of the flashbacks provide more context and even some clues behind Owen’s disappearance and also choices he’s made.

I really went along for the ride with this story and didn’t try to guess the ending. Although, I couldn’t have solved it if I tried—didn’t have any idea of where it was going. I thought the reveals were absolutely fascinating.

Heart of the Story

This one is an examination of found family. Hannah was raised by her grandfather after being abandoned by her parents. After he passed away, she lost her family—until she met Owen. However, Bailey wants nothing to do with her.

But once Owen is gone, the two are forced to work together to find out what’s happening. They both discover that they need each other and Bailey starts to see a different side to Hannah. I’ve read a lot of moody teenager/adult stories lately but I thought this one was handled quite well. I understood why Bailey acted the way she did (felt that her relationship with her dad would change) but I really liked how her and Hannah eventually come together. Very well done!

Verdict

The Last Thing He Told Me is a riveting and thought-provoking mystery. It’s one of those books I did not want to put down. Highly recommend you check it out! If your book club is reading this one, check out my discussion questions here.

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