ShortBookandScribes #PublicationDay #BookReview – The Last Time I Saw You by Jo Leevers

Happy publication day to Jo Leevers as The Last Time I Saw You is published by Lake Union today in paperback, eBook and audiobook! My thanks to the author for very kindly sending me a proof copy for review.

She’s waiting to become a mother―but first she has to find her own.

Weeks away from the birth of her first child, Georgie should be enjoying the peace of her new life in the country, but boredom has settled in and nerves are running high. A viral news story about the rescue of a missing child warms her heart until she sees the photo: the woman who found the child is her own mother, Nancy, who disappeared twenty years ago.

How could Nancy have abandoned her own children? Georgie needs to know before becoming a mother herself, even if it means calling on her estranged brother Dan for support. As the siblings set off on a road trip towards the Scottish island where Nancy was last seen, they don’t yet know that her side of the story has just as much heartache as their own.

Caught between her new life and old secrets, Georgie must make peace with the past. Can she and Dan unite to uncover the truth? And can piecing together Nancy’s story fix their broken family―or are some wounds too deep to heal?

When heavily pregnant Georgie sees a photo in the news of a woman who has found a missing child on a remote Scottish island, she is taken aback to see it’s her mother, Nancy, who left Georgie and her brother Dan twenty years earlier, never to be seen again. Wanting answers, the siblings set off on a long drive to find Nancy but nothing on the unusual trip goes to plan. What struck me most of all about The Last Time I Saw You is how one side of the story, the one you know (or think you know) is never the whole story and as the journey progresses so many things change and come to light for all of the characters.

This is very much a character-driven book and I grew to really like and care about them all. The story unfolds so beautifully and it’s written with such thought, sensitivity and empathy. I liked this book from the beginning but as I delved into the characters’ pasts through Georgie’s chapters in the present and Nancy’s in the past, I began to understand the complexities of their mother-daughter relationship and it got to the point where I really didn’t want to stop reading and put it down.

I read and enjoyed Jo Leevers’ first book, Tell Me How This Ends, last year but she’s really excelled herself with this heartfelt and exquisitely drawn portrayal of human emotions, the intricate highs and lows of family life, coercive control, motherhood, and grief for somebody who is not truly lost. The Last Time I Saw You wrapped itself around my heart and I won’t forget it in a hurry.

Jo Leevers grew up in London and began writing fiction after a career in magazine journalism. Her bestselling debut, Tell Me How This Ends, was a BBC Radio 2 Book Club choice. Whether writing fiction or interviewing people for articles, she is fascinated by the stories and secrets that we all carry with us. She has two grown-up children and lives with her husband and their wayward dog, Lottie, in Bristol.

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