The Last Thing To Burn

Emily Bestler: Atria. Apr. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9781982156466. $27. THRILLER
Jane (not her real name) lives on an isolated farm in the United Kingdom, with a man who claims to be her husband—but she doesn’t remember marrying him. Jane and her sister were taken from their home in Vietnam and promised jobs in America and the opportunity to send money home to their family. In reality, Jane was drugged and sold to a man who now keeps her captive on the farm, where she’s expected to clean, cook, and act the wife. Each time she questions her situation or does something he deems punishable, she loses a little more of herself. Her few possessions from home are taken and burned, one by one for each infraction. Resigned to her fate, Jane spends her days with little hope, but when she discovers she’s pregnant and then gives birth to a daughter, she is determined to escape. Finally, when her “husband” brings another woman to the farm, Jane endeavors to find a way out, for all of them.
VERDICT Dean (Red Snow) has written a horrific tale of human trafficking in this gripping and powerful novel. Recommended to fans of stories that explore the sheer human will and determination to escape unimaginable situations.
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