Her Last Words by Kim Kelly. (2020).
**3.5 out of 5 stars**
A murder. A missing manuscript. An undying love… It’s 2007. Thisbe wants to be a writer. She doesn’t long for fame, only to tell of the stories written on her heart. While her best friends, Penny and Jane, and her darling boyfriend John seem set for stellar careers in their chosen fields, Thisbe works nights as a hostess (a job she despises) to pay bills. Just as she completes her novel, she is killed at the end of John’s street. Who murdered Thisbe? What will become of her novel? Here is a tale of tragedy and literary betrayal, of a publishing industry grappling with change and a great love drowning in guilt-wracked grief.
This is a review that I’ve found quite difficult to write, and also a book that I found quite hard to rate. While I think the author wrote beautifully and I appreciate what the novel was about, I found the majority of it fairly depressing and got me down a bit. The novel finishes in a more positive place which I liked but the journey there is hard for a lot of the characters. From the beginning, it would be hard for anyone to not feel for John: he is utterly broken by the death of his partner, with whom he argued with right before her death. When the story moves ahead seven years, John is still heartbroken and full of despair and guilt; it’s painful to read but also I imagine a very realistic portrayal. The novel includes perspectives of several different characters, with some featuring more than others, but all being affected somehow by the death of Thisbe even if they did not know her.
Overall: this a story you won’t forget in a hurry but I would note that I think you would need to be in the right frame of mind to read this one to fully appreciate it.