Happy Publication Day, Will Dean! Here’s my review of his fantastic latest novel, The Last Thing to Burn.
He is her husband. She is his captive.
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 . . .
Well, I was expecting dark but crikey, The Last Thing to Burn is dark and grisly as they come – but the darkest thing of all is the knowledge that human trafficking is a very real, current issue.
I can’t stress enough how phenomenally well done the character and world-building is in this book. Dean harnesses all five senses to make this a truly immersive read – you feel the heat and the cold, taste the food, see the house and its rooms, smell the decay, and hear the creaking of every step on the stairs. These elements put you mercilessly by Thanh’s side without any power to help and all you can do is watch and hope.
I had moments where I had to step away from this book. It is not gratuitous and in some respects, it seemed a disservice to the victims of trafficking for me to put it down because it was ‘too much’ but I also think that is testament to the strength of Dean’s writing.
If this review isn’t clear enough – I highly recommend this fantastic book. This is the first book of Will Dean’s that I’ve picked up and I will be working my way through the rest!
Many thanks to Hodder Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What do you think of The Last Thing to Burn? Will you be reading it? Let me know in the comments below.
Wishing you a wonderfully bookish week,