Tuesday, 5 March 2019

The Last Thing She Told Me - Linda Green

I couldn’t read this fast enough!! In fact I read it so fast I’m sure I must have missed bits because  I HAD to know what happened!! 

A four generation page turner loaded with suspense ‘The Last Thing She Told Me’ looks at the hidden family secrets of three generations. The fourth generation being the children bearing some of the brunt of the fallout from what has gone before.  I am loathe to offer spoilers or give too much away but do steel yourselves because there’s some challenging , as well as emotional, events in this book.

Many thriller and suspense stories are all about the action and the twists but add emotion to this one and it’s quite explosive. One of the problems of being an avid reader of this genre and beyond is that you are alert to all the ‘tricks’ that a writer might employ to garnish the thrills. I did suspect one or two things here but it just fed the smartarse in me rather than dilute the impact of what happens.

I thoroughly enjoyed the structure of the novel. The straightforward present time first person narrative of Nicola complemented the narratives of the past. I’m even afraid that’s a bit of a spoiler. I thought it was very clever and had me fooled almost till the end convincing me that my smartarse meter doesn’t always work in the hands of an experienced writer.

In addition to the thriller/suspense aspects there was an absorbing exploration into family dynamics and the need for us to establish our own identities and understand our origins.  Social comment was powerful, raising issues very contemporary today. Again I don’t want to ‘spoil’ by being too specific. But reference to #metoo wouldn’t be out of place. The novel also highlights how social and cultural dogma can inhibit and distort intentions provoking unjustified and undeserved feelings of shame, and self loathing  even in young women.

The female characters are all pretty strong women although Nicola might disagree with me in her moments of intense self doubt as to whether she had taken the right path. The male characters are ‘paler’ and functional. But then I think it is a predominantly female book, if it’s okay and PC enough to say that? If it isn’t I’m sorry. 

I’m not sure if you can call it an enjoyable read? Much of what happens is harrowing and upsetting but there are redemptions scattered throughout. I found it a page turner. and I don’t often say that!

My thanks to Milly Reid at Quercus Books for an advance proof. 

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