Fiona Lucas, June 2021
Anna and Brody are strangers. They meet by phone when Anna dials a number that now belongs to Brody, and with that call their paths start to converge. This is the story of their journeys.
A main character’s gradual emergence from deep grief is not an uncommon theme in women’s fiction. Knowing this as I started the audiobook, I was sure I could predict which surprising (cliché and tired) plot devices would pop up. Fiona Lucas earned my respect by proving me wrong on every prediction, although this book does follow the expected formula and contains the usual characters (parents, in-laws, pushy best friend). As Anna, Brody, and other characters struggle toward healing, Ms. Lucas shows us the authentic grief and excruciating regret which any reader who has lost a loved one will recognize.
I would have appreciated a deeper exploration of Anna’s and Brody’s relationship early in their story. In their first interactions, one of them uses the other unashamedly and with no awareness of how their outpouring of emotion might be affecting their friend. There is no reciprocity, and the seemingly unavoidable conflict that this would create could have added depth to the relationship and the book. This was the only miss (I wouldn’t really call it a flaw) that I noted in an otherwise well-crafted audiobook edition that’s nicely paced and flows effortlessly; it’s always a pleasure to experience a book that’s created by a gifted storyteller.
The story is on the long side for its type, at just over eleven hours, but it held my interest throughout, and those who love the genre will consider the time invested in reading or listening well spent. Narrator Antonia Beamish has a pleasant, well-modulated voice although her depiction of male voices is awkward. It wasn’t necessary to constantly adjust the sound, as the volume was consistent – always appreciated.
Readers of women’s fiction with a theme of grief will recognize that The Last Goodbye holds its own in the genre.
Thank you to #NetGalley and HarperAudio for an Advance Reader Copy of this audiobook which I received in return for my honest review of #TheLastGoodbye.