A bookish friend of mine recently read this book in a day, and once I read the overview, I knew I had to read this to my TBR list. Since I’m trying to be a real adult and pay off all my debt in 2021, hence cutting back (okay, significantly slashing) my book allowance, I learned how to better navigate my local library system. I was pleasantly surprised to get The Last Flight by Julie Clark after less than two weeks of waiting! And my friend was right: this was a super fast-paced and engaging read!
Summary: GoodReads summarizes this book in 3 quick and accurate sentences:
“Two women. Two Flights. One last chance to disappear.”
From the outsider’s perspective, Claire Cook has the perfect life. She’s married to a wealthy, successful Manhattan politician. She has an expansive brownstone, staff to take care of her every need. But her perfect husband has a vicious temper, and behind closed doors, he abuses her both physically and emotionally, tracking her every move and scheduling every moment of her days. With the help of her high school friend Petra, she meticulously plans to vanish, leaving everyone and everything she knows behind in an attempt to leave the abuse and start her life over.
A chance encounter at the airport brings Claire to meet Eva, a woman whose situation seems equally tumultuous. The two women make a last-minute decision to switch tickets: Claire will take Eva’s flight to Oakland, California, and Eva will travel to Puerto Rico as Claire. This switch is the fresh start that both women need.
But when the plane carrying “Claire” (really Eva) to Puerto Rico crashes leaving no survivors, Claire realizes her head start to find freedom has just become a free pass to a new life. Her abusive husband won’t search for her now that she’s declared dead. Right?
Claire does the only thing she feels she can do: she assumes Eva’s identity, staying in her apartment, and unknowingly inherits the dangerous secrets that Eva tried so hard to keep hidden.
My Review: Y’all, I absolutely loved this book. It kept me interested from start to finish. There was the perfect amount of suspense and thrills, and Clark’s writing was superb. The characters were relatable (something you probably know by now is a huge thing for me). The story progressed well, and nothing felt forced. It was a natural progression as the story unfolded, and I felt like Claire could have been my friend or neighbor.
I really felt for her through the struggles she endured, but I was also very frustrated, mostly for her. I felt the panic that her husband could come and find her. I felt her isolation and desperation when her plans to assume her new identity were thwarted.
Eva’s story was also very interesting. As her relationship with Liz unfolded, I went from feeling Liz was an annoying, nosy neighbor to realizing she was the closest thing to family Eva ever had. I loved how Liz and Danielle tied into the story’s ending (no spoilers!)
I will say the ending shocked me. I won’t ruin it for you, but I was 100% convinced it ended the other way. Well done, Julie Clark. You stumped me!
Conclusion: The Last Flight by Julie Clark was a five out of five star read for me! It was deliciously intriguing and I finished it in a day and a half (and that’s as a mom of 4, so that translates to like just a few hours, if I didn’t have to stop and start sixteen times to feed/yell at/feed again/do laundry for all these little humans!) If you liked The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl, and The Woman in Cabin 10, this book will be right up your alley!