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Review: The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

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This book review of The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave gives you all the details you need to know about this suspenseful, yet thoughtful, family drama, with quotes and book pairings for more like it.

Summary / Book Review of The Last Thing He Told Me

  • #1 Instant New York Times Bestseller
  • BEST BOOK OF SUMMER SELECTED BY * VOGUE * USA TODAY * ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY * CNN * TOWN & COUNTRY * PARADE * BUSTLE * AND MORE!

This was also one of my favorite book choices ever from Reese Witherspoon’s book club!

The Last Thing He Told Me will blow you away. The premise seems simple:  a loving husband named Owen disappears from their California houseboat after leaving a short note to his new wife Hannah: “Protect her” — his 16-year-old daughter Bailey.

Bailey is the typical rebellious stepdaughter so this won't be easy for Hannah, but more importantly, where did Owen go? And why?

As Hannah begins to manage this unexpected predicament, Owen's boss is very publicly arrested for fraud, and FBI agents arrive at her home. It is then that Hannah first questions whether her husband is who she thought he was.

She and Bailey travel to Texas to try to piece together what they don't know about Owen's past and, as the suspense builds, they face so many questions:

  • Was Owen's life a lie?
  • Is Hannah's entire marriage a sham?
  • Will Owen ever return?
  • What really happened to Bailey's biological mother, who died?
  • Will Owen be arrested too?
  • How do they begin to live a "new normal?"

The Last Thing He Told Me moved at a super-fast pace that will keep your heart pounding. (I finished it in one day!) Yet, it wasn't just about thrills and evil people -- it really made me think about whether you can ever really know someone who love, and what I would do in Hannah's shoes.

Flashbacks to Hannah's happier days, together with Owen, made her confusion about her current situation feel so incredibly palpable.

The Last Thing He Told Me also kept me really interested in tracking the relationship between Hannah and Bailey, an unlikely duo, each of whom never in a million years expected to be living their current lives, without Owen and with so many questions about him.

This is a thriller that's uniquely about family dynamics and the meaning of family in very unique circumstances, and it's filled with twists and turns that you will not be able to figure out the mystery — trust me!

I so highly recommend The Last Thing He Told Me as one of the most unputdownable books I have read, as well as the perfect beach read.

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Quotes from The Last Thing He Told Me

“This is the terrible thing about a tragedy. It isn't with you every minute. You forget it, and then you remember it again.”

“People don’t tend to work that way. We have our opinion and we filter information into a paradigm that supports it.”

"It's never about someone else the moment you realize it is up to you to get yourself to a better place. It's only about figuring out how to get there.”

“There are parts I wish didn’t exist, parts I can’t look away from now. In one way or another, this is the deal we all sign when we love someone. For better or worse. It’s the deal we have to sign again and again to keep that love. We don’t turn away from the parts of someone we don’t want to see. However quickly or long it takes to see them. We accept them if we are strong enough. Or we accept them enough to not let the bad parts become the entire story.”

"I thought if I were nice enough, sweet enough, she’d understand she could count on me. But that’s not how you learn you can count on someone. You learn it in the moments when everyone’s too tired to be sweet, too tired to try hard. You learn it by what they do for you then.”

“Most people don't want to hear the thing that will make it work better... They want to hear what will make it easier.”

“Maybe we are all fools, one way or another, when it comes to seeing the totality of the people who love us--the people we try to love."

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Pairings

For more like The Last Thing He Told Me, check out my suggestions below.

The Last Thing He Told Me Movie / Apple TV + Series

The Last Thing He Told Me movie / series on Apple TV+ is in development by Reese's Witherspoon's company Hello Sunshine, and it will star Julia Roberts.

Keep an eye out for it!

The Last Thing He Told Me Spotify Playlist

Author Laura Dave created an AMAZING Spotify playlist of the songs that inspired The Last Thing He Told Me. This playlist tugged at all my heartstrings, and it made me feel like I was walking directly in Hannah's shoes.

Of note, Dave told Variety that "[i]t took more than 13,000 plays of the Bruce Springsteen song “If I Should Fall Behind” — a live version recorded with the E Street Band at Madison Square Garden — to help [her] finish [the book]."

You can hear it on the Spotify playlist!

Books Similar to The Last Thing He Told Me

The Last Thing He Told Me feels different than any book I have read, but if you liked it, I think you may also like these two books:

The Push by Ashley Audrain

The Push is about a mother who can't figure out whether there's something wrong with her daughter -- or herself. Similar to The Last Thing He Told Me, it makes you think about who is good and who is bad, and whether you can ever really know a family member. It also keeps you guessing the whole time, and leaves you feeling the emotions of a family torn apart by really unique and emotional circumstances.

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

The Wife Upstairs (Instant New York Times and USA Today Best Seller) is a Gothic and Southern, modern re-telling of Jane Eyre, in which a new wife of a widowed man, like Hannah in The Last Thing He Told Me, begins to question the truth about her husband and his first wife, in what becomes a thrilling and markedly odd love triangle.


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