The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean – Book Review

Title: The Last Thing to Burn

Author: Will Dean

Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Fiction

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publication Date: 7th January 2021

Rating: 5/5



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 …


I’ve been reading so many great reviews of The Last Thing to Burn that I couldn’t wait to start it. It more than lived up to the glowing reviews and completely blew me away. It is the sort of book that demands you don’t stop reading by keeping you totally gripped by the intensity on the page. The story follows a young woman who has been named ‘Jane’ by her captor. She has been a prisoner in a remote farm cottage surrounded by countless fields for a long time however when something crucial changes, she decides escape, however impossible seeming, is imperative.

I cannot overstate how brilliant The Last Thing to Burn is. I could not take my eyes off the page and from the halfway-mark until the end I was holding my breath in fear for Jane and her struggle to free herself from a monster. The story is genuinely harrowing, perhaps more so than any other book I’ve read recently. It does not make for a relaxing or pleasant read but it needs to be harrowing, to truly convey the horror of what this young woman is experiencing. This is a work of fiction but is not at all out of the realms of possibility and it is incredibly important to tell the stories of people like ‘Jane’ who don’t seem to exist in administration and therefore are disturbingly easy to ‘disappear’. My heart broke over and over again reading The Last Thing to Burn and it is written with such careful intelligence. It grabs hold of you and will not let go until the conclusion. I was so invested from start to finish and I cannot imagine anyone not experiencing the same whilst reading this stunning, propulsive and unflinchingly emotive book.

I received an e-arc of the book through Netgalley. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.

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