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The Last Thing to Burn - heartbreaking story of survival and resilience.

Thanh “Jane” Dao and her younger sister Kim-Ly come to England from Vietnam through illegal passage in a container. The sisters are separated and Jane is "sold” and sent to a farm owned by Lenn where she is held captive for seven years. She clings to letters from her sister and other keepsakes. It is the hope and belief that her sister is safe and will one day pay off her travel debt which keeps Jane sane. She is under constant watch. Lenn has cameras set around the house and tells Jane that any attempt at escape will jeopardize her sister’s safety as he knows where she is living. When she does anything to anger Lenn, he burns one of her treasured and dwindling group of possessions. She fears that one day he will burn them all and she will have no shred of her identity left. Jane soon finds herself pregnant which strengthens her resolve to one day escape.


This is a relatively short, well-written and powerful book. I don’t think I could have handled it if it was much longer as this is one dark, shocking and bleak story. And claustrophobic. Very claustrophobic. Yet Last Thing to Burn is also a hopeful book and shows the strength of the human spirit. Especially when a child is involved. It has been described as a thriller in the tradition of Misery and Room. I totally agree.


Many thanks to Atria / Emily Bestler Books, author Will Dean and NetGalley for the opportunity read this intense book in advance of its publication.


Rated 4 out of 5 stars.

General Fiction / Psychological Thriller / Suspense.

Publication Date: April 20, 2021.


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