Book Review: “The Last Thing He Told Me”

Lauras Daves’s bestseller speaks volumes about the complexity of human nature


“Protect her” is the last message Owen Michaels leaves behind for his wife before he disappears off the streets of Sausalito, San Francisco. In Laura Daves’ bestselling novel “The Last Thing He Told Me”, Hannah Hall and her judgmental 16-year old stepdaughter Bailey rush to find her husband in the wake of a business scandal at his company. What starts as a search for Owen ends up uncovering secrets about his past that they could have never have imagined to be true.  

In this story, Daves talks in great length about how Hannah and Owen met each other. Owen had previously been married to a woman named Olivia whom he had Bailey with. After Olivia was killed in an accident, Owen and Bailey moved to San Francisco where he soon met Hannah and got married. Though Hannah tried to make a good relationship with Bailey, for the past year, Owen had been the only bridge between them. 

Owen’s backstory is created in an efficient way that I think makes the reader want to believe it is true. Even though he has effectively made himself a suspect of the police and could be charged with fraud, similar to his boss. I also really enjoyed watching the progression of Hannah and Bailey’s relationship from being rigid to them eventually loving each other.

Along with the positives, The Last Thing He Told Me does have many flaws. For example, Daves applies quite the overused teenage moody stereotype with Bailey as well as a sense of recklessness and rebellion which doesn’t compare with the loving space Hannah and Owen create for her in the beginning. 

However, as the story progresses, Daves does a good job of explaining why Bailey makes some immature decisions by sharing her thought process and feelings. She also shows Hannah to be a kind-hearted person, which breaks the stereotype of the “evil” stepmother. 

In some situations I also felt that Hannah was too practical and seasoned as a female lead. She was always prepared to do what needed to be done and knew what the right thing to do was. Instead, if Hannah had started out as a weaker character being unprepared to protect Bailey, she would have much more significant character growth and development. Throughout this novel, each character’s personality contributes to the nuanced relationships depicted.