Read June 9, 2020 – June 11, 2020
Julie Clark’s sophomore novel, The Last Flight, arrived in my Book of the Month box this month. There were 5 choices, all vetted by the staff, and as part of the program you select at least one to be shipped to you for the month. The novel doesn’t officially release until June 23rd but as a little perk you get early access. On my social media page I have tagged her in several posts, to which she has commented on or replied to. She’s active with her readers and truly cares about the community. I was pleased when she sent me a personal response in my messages regarding the dedication in her book. Her dedication states, “Dedicated to all the women who have come forward with their stories… — we hear you. We believe you.” It took me by surprise to see that she recognized that many women do suffer from abuse and that, though she was inspired to write a story involving fictional characters, those characters experience hardships that real woman face.
What is it about?
The narrative follows two characters on different timelines who meet toward the beginning. Claire is the wife to an abusive man in power and wants more than anything to start over. She meets a stranger, Eva, at the airport and they decide to switch plane tickets. It’s a modern day body swap: identity swap! Claire’s timeline and narrative is in first-person and follows her life leading up to arriving at the airport and thereafter. You experience what happens as she takes on Eva’s identity while she tries to start over, knowing that it’s only a matter of time before her husband finds and punishes her.
Eva’s timeline begins when they meet at the airport but then continues telling of the months leading up to that day. You find details of what Eva is running from through her backstory, told in third-person, whereas Claire tells you right away why she wants to escape. You’d imagine that you might feel closer to Clair because of the point-of-view of her narrative but both women are relatable and are able to form a connection with the reader.
What does it have?
- Domestic Abuse
- Escape & Adventure
- Female Friendships
- Psychological Thrill
I wasn’t ready to put this book down at the end of the night. Clark leaves nearly every chapter on a cliff before switching to Eva from Claire and back again. You’re left deciding if you want to stop at the edge or keep going and find answers. Beyond the surface of the story, you get to think about your own life and the choices you’ve made. This is especially highlighted through Eva’s narrative. The narrator says, regarding regret, “It lived inside of you, shrinking down until you could almost believe it had vanished, only to have it spring up, fully formed, called forward…”(The Last Flight). You wonder if there are choices you wish you hadn’t made; you’re reminded of the time a friend innocently brought up something from your past. We all have something we’ve done or experienced that we’d rather not be brought up for one reason or another.
Is it worth reading?
Absolutely. I really loved how attached I felt to the narratives of both Claire and Eva; I think you’ll find that the way the point-of-view alternates with each chapter will make you feel more compelled to continue. The novel focuses on the escape from harm rather than the harm itself, which proves to be very empowering! You aren’t stuck here watching someone be abused and stay with the person. This story is about having the strength to make the leap toward a better life.
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If you’d like more information about the Book of the Month club, use my referral link for a discount!