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A razor-sharp novel of suspense about the lies families tell—and those we choose to believe—by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of Jane Doe. Lauren Abrams wants nothing to do with her damaged mother, whose spurious testimony sent Lauren’s father to prison for murder years ago. After a serial killer’s confession to the crime restored justice, Lauren chose to live with he A razor-sharp novel of suspense about the lies families tell—and those we choose to believe—by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of Jane Doe. Lauren Abrams wants nothing to do with her damaged mother, whose spurious testimony sent Lauren’s father to prison for murder years ago. After a serial killer’s confession to the crime restored justice, Lauren chose to live with her father and grandmother. Now an adult, Lauren has come home to the Sacramento family estate for good, her mother’s lies be damned… It’s been decades since Donna made her cheating husband pay, but she hasn’t forgotten the past. She knows her estranged daughter has made a terrible mistake by returning to the estate. There’s more to the story of the welcoming old homestead—and her childhood—than Lauren knows. As Lauren settles in, she is haunted by the questions of what really happened with her father, what her mother might be hiding, and what secrets the family ranch holds. It’s getting so dark, Lauren may not be able to see the truth to save her life.


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A razor-sharp novel of suspense about the lies families tell—and those we choose to believe—by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of Jane Doe. Lauren Abrams wants nothing to do with her damaged mother, whose spurious testimony sent Lauren’s father to prison for murder years ago. After a serial killer’s confession to the crime restored justice, Lauren chose to live with he A razor-sharp novel of suspense about the lies families tell—and those we choose to believe—by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of Jane Doe. Lauren Abrams wants nothing to do with her damaged mother, whose spurious testimony sent Lauren’s father to prison for murder years ago. After a serial killer’s confession to the crime restored justice, Lauren chose to live with her father and grandmother. Now an adult, Lauren has come home to the Sacramento family estate for good, her mother’s lies be damned… It’s been decades since Donna made her cheating husband pay, but she hasn’t forgotten the past. She knows her estranged daughter has made a terrible mistake by returning to the estate. There’s more to the story of the welcoming old homestead—and her childhood—than Lauren knows. As Lauren settles in, she is haunted by the questions of what really happened with her father, what her mother might be hiding, and what secrets the family ranch holds. It’s getting so dark, Lauren may not be able to see the truth to save her life.

30 review for The Last One Home

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Nope! Nope! Nope! Nope! This is not what I expected and yearned for reading! I don’t know how quick I clicked the request button when I see Victoria Helen Stone’s name and find titles section on NetGalley! And as you may imagine, I gloated and gathered my friends to celebrate with early happy hour 9:30 am in the morning. I couldn’t wait to jump into her new thriller even though its blurb was a little evasive. I read 100 pages, nothing intriguing happened so I thought this was slow burn thriller Nope! Nope! Nope! Nope! This is not what I expected and yearned for reading! I don’t know how quick I clicked the request button when I see Victoria Helen Stone’s name and find titles section on NetGalley! And as you may imagine, I gloated and gathered my friends to celebrate with early happy hour 9:30 am in the morning. I couldn’t wait to jump into her new thriller even though its blurb was a little evasive. I read 100 pages, nothing intriguing happened so I thought this was slow burn thriller so I decided to give more chance. I was introduced with Lauren, the heroine who moves to her 90 years old grandma’s estate because her grandma had a stroke and she cannot live in this grandiose house by herself and she’s adamant to leave this place to her granddaughter with reasonable mortgage payment deal. Lauren was raised by her mother Donna who thinks her grandma and father were dangerous people. She even testified against her father about killing a young waitress and put him behind the bars. Later her father was exonerated, got remarried and started from fresh as soon as he left the prison and of course Lauren formed a healthy family relationship with he and her grandma despite the worries of her mother. The story is told by going back and forth between Lauren and Donna’s narrations: present time to read Lauren’s renovation plans, YouTube videos, Instagram stalking to her ex Bastian which made me yawn and get me bored to death. We’re also moving back to 1985 to see the life of Donna who just moved to Sacramento after getting pregnant and Michael who is the father, trying to divorce from his wife who is not mentally stable. Donna wants to trust the man but we can hear the alarm bells from the beginning he is not telling the truth about his marriage. This part is a little more intriguing but it is still repetitive. Donna questions Michael’s motives and Michael acts like liar douchebag then she forgives him and he does something unacceptable again. Oh! Too much unnecessary angst and more yawning! Only the last %2 of the book gets a little faster and as soon as tension starts building, the book ends. Yes, it’s not even slow burn because nothing is burning or flaming about this story. It’s a women’s fiction. This is not a thriller. Mystery parts are already foreseeable from the first chapters. I gave three stars for my respect of the author’s previous works. Don’t get me wrong. This is not a bad book. The flawed, unreliable characters, dysfunctional family dynamics, abuse, estranged mother- daughter relationship are well-told and developed but I was expecting something more exciting, riveting,action-packed after reading Jane Doe series! So this is too light, action-less, flat, slow for my taste. I’m still looking forward to read more works of the author but unfortunately this is not my favorite work of hers. Special thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for providing me this digital arc in exchange my honest opinions.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ceecee

    3.5 rounded up. Part of the story follows Lauren Abrahams who moves into her ninety year old grandmother’s house in the Sacramento Valley with the intention of caring for her after she suffers a stroke. Her grandmother offers her the house on very favourable terms and Lauren sets about a renovation project. The second part takes the narrative back to 1985 to Lauren’s pregnant mother Donna who is being made false promises by Lauren’s father Michael ..... I like the premise of the book and it’s ver 3.5 rounded up. Part of the story follows Lauren Abrahams who moves into her ninety year old grandmother’s house in the Sacramento Valley with the intention of caring for her after she suffers a stroke. Her grandmother offers her the house on very favourable terms and Lauren sets about a renovation project. The second part takes the narrative back to 1985 to Lauren’s pregnant mother Donna who is being made false promises by Lauren’s father Michael ..... I like the premise of the book and it’s very easy to read. The alternating points of view works well as we witness Michael’s behaviour and try to understand his relationship with Donna and when Michael’s mother enters the picture things get very interesting! Between the parallel storylines an intriguing picture emerges, secrets and lies build and all the puzzling pieces fall into place. There are so many dysfunctional relationships here in particular between Donna and Lauren but I like how that is resolved. The suspense and tension build well in the last quarter of the book and the ending is really good and somewhat unexpected! However, there are some negatives in my opinion. At times in the first 20/30 percent the pace is a bit slow in places and there is some backwards and forwards repetition concerning Michael’s actions. Lauren’s character is a bit bland, I’d have liked a bit more of Donna’s spirit! There is a strand in the storytelling that concerns a convicted serial killer which could have been more effective and that sort of fizzles out. Overall though, I did enjoy it as it’s easy to read with a very good finale. With thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the arc for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael David

    I was initially so excited for this book, then dreaded it after seeing some lackluster reviews. I didn’t necessarily dread reading it, but I rarely felt the excitement. Years ago, Lauren’s father was in prison for murder. He was released when she was 10, after a serial killer confessed to the crime. Lauren was thrilled, except for the fact that her own mother’s testimony put her father in jail in the first place. Now, years later, Lauren has just moved into her paternal grandmother’s home. Her g I was initially so excited for this book, then dreaded it after seeing some lackluster reviews. I didn’t necessarily dread reading it, but I rarely felt the excitement. Years ago, Lauren’s father was in prison for murder. He was released when she was 10, after a serial killer confessed to the crime. Lauren was thrilled, except for the fact that her own mother’s testimony put her father in jail in the first place. Now, years later, Lauren has just moved into her paternal grandmother’s home. Her grandmother is in special care after suffering a stroke. Lauren doesn’t talk to her mother, and can never forgive her for lying. When someone claiming to be the imprisoned serial killer reaches out to her, a series of events are set in motion. What really happened to the woman who was murdered? THE GOOD: The premise is exciting, and pretty original for the most part. There are dual storylines...from Lauren’s POV in the present, and her mother’s POV in 1985. I enjoyed parts of each, more so the past. The last 20% revs up and provides the excitement I was waiting for. THE NOT SO GOOD: I repeat - The last 20% revs up and provides the excitement I was waiting for. That means for about 80% of the book, nothing really happens. While I was never painfully bored, I couldn’t help feeling disappointed after numerous times where I thought, “Oh, this is IT. Something is FINALLY happening”...only to have nothing happen. The characters in both storylines make bad choices that had me rolling my eyes. All in all, I think a shorter book (or one with a few more surprises) could’ve made a world of difference. While I won’t actively recommend it to anyone, I encourage those who are curious to also read other reviews when determining if this book is worth looking into. Thank you to Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Expected Publication Date: 3/30/2021. Review also posted at: https://bonkersforthebooks.wordpress.com

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    This is a Thriller/Mystery. I found this book hard to get into at first because the book jump between Lauren (Now) and Donna (Then). It took me a little bit to put together that it was jumping back in time, and it took me a little to figure out what Lauren and Donna as to do with each other. I did not think this book as a big twist, but it is more of a slow burn reveal. This time of thriller is not my favorite type of thriller, but I really enjoyed this book. The characters where hard to underst This is a Thriller/Mystery. I found this book hard to get into at first because the book jump between Lauren (Now) and Donna (Then). It took me a little bit to put together that it was jumping back in time, and it took me a little to figure out what Lauren and Donna as to do with each other. I did not think this book as a big twist, but it is more of a slow burn reveal. This time of thriller is not my favorite type of thriller, but I really enjoyed this book. The characters where hard to understand at first, but I feel the characters grow on you the more you read. This is not a fast pace book or a book that will pull you in from the beginning. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (Lake Union Publishing) or author (Victoria Helen Stone) via NetGalley, so I can give honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you to them for that. (*)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bridgett

    Okay, admittedly, this is not what I was expecting from the author who brought us the insanely delightful sociopath, Jane Doe. Having said that, I read many of the reviews before I started this book, so I didn't go in expecting a thriller or suspense story. I went in expecting a family drama...and that's essentially what I got. And it's not a bad story. Not at all. I think folks are simply being thrown off by the synopsis, and the author's previous works. Told from two points of view, Lauren' Okay, admittedly, this is not what I was expecting from the author who brought us the insanely delightful sociopath, Jane Doe. Having said that, I read many of the reviews before I started this book, so I didn't go in expecting a thriller or suspense story. I went in expecting a family drama...and that's essentially what I got. And it's not a bad story. Not at all. I think folks are simply being thrown off by the synopsis, and the author's previous works. Told from two points of view, Lauren's in the present day and Donna's in the mid-1980s, the characters were beautifully written and felt very real to me. In Lauren's sections, I enjoyed how her personality came alive when she was "going live" on social media. In Donna's, I loved all the eighties references. The mystery...yea, it's a bit of a joke. I had this book figured out practically from page one. If it's mystery you're looking for, I'd suggest looking elsewhere. However, if you're looking for a slow-burning, character-driven family saga...I'd say this would be a great choice for a rainy day. 3.5 stars rounded down Available March 30, 2021 My most sincere thanks to NetGalley and one of my favorite publishing companies, Lake Union Publishing, for my review copy.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This latest suspense novel from Victoria Helen Stone starts off with a very intriguing and original plot. Lauren Abrams spent the early part of her childhood growing up with her single mother Donna, constantly moving from one run-down apartment to another as her mother worked in a string of dead-end jobs. Before she was born, Lauren’s father Michael, a married man, had been convicted of murdering a young woman, partly as a result as testimony by Donna at his trial. However, when Lauren was a tee This latest suspense novel from Victoria Helen Stone starts off with a very intriguing and original plot. Lauren Abrams spent the early part of her childhood growing up with her single mother Donna, constantly moving from one run-down apartment to another as her mother worked in a string of dead-end jobs. Before she was born, Lauren’s father Michael, a married man, had been convicted of murdering a young woman, partly as a result as testimony by Donna at his trial. However, when Lauren was a teenager, her father was exonerated and freed. Lauren finally got to meet him and his mother Elizabeth (her grandmother) and spend time with them at the family ranch in the hills outside Sacramento. Not being able to forgive her mother for lying, Lauren went to live with her father and cut Donna out of her life. After college, with her father remarried and starting a new family, Lauren moved to LA where she had a nice apartment and work as a freelance graphic designer. Now with her grandmother moving to a nursing home following a stroke, Lauren has moved back to the ranch and agreed to buy it from her grandmother. Afterall, she’s always loved her visits there and can do her graphic design work anywhere. So, the mystery here is why did Donna lie in court all those years ago when she was pregnant with Lauren? Who was the young woman killed and why did Donna implicate Michael? The mystery is unravelled from two points of view, that of Donna’s when she was pregnant with Lauren in 1985 and that that of Lauren’s in the current time as she starts renovating the house and yearns for her recent ex, a self-centred man left behind in LA. Despite their different personalities, Donna fierce and feisty, Lauren, indecisive and unsure, the women are more alike than they realise, both gullible when it comes to believing flaky men. It’s best to go into this not expecting a fast-paced thriller, as instead it’s a slow burner of a domestic suspense novel, taking its time to set the scene for the twists and revelations that will come later in the last chapters of the book. The drama is in fact fairly flat for at least three quarters of the book and would have benefitted from a little more action to spice up the suspense (something the author has a talent for). There is a subplot involving a serial killer that could have been more prominent to add some intensity. However, the ending is well done and provides some of the frisson we’re all looking for in a good suspense novel. 3.5★ With many thanks to Lake Union Publishing and Netgalley for providing a copy to read. Expected publication is 30th March. Original review published in Mystery and Suspense Magazine.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    I was so excited to read this book, because I am an unrepentant superfan of Victoria Helen Stone’s Jane Doe. Stone is one of those authors whose tone always resonates with me and whose writing usually always keeps me interested, with lots of fun description, unlikable but interesting female characters, great narrative voices, and sneaky feminist humor. So I was a little (ok, very) bummed that I didn’t love this one. The premise is a good one: Lauren is moving back to the family home after a fract I was so excited to read this book, because I am an unrepentant superfan of Victoria Helen Stone’s Jane Doe. Stone is one of those authors whose tone always resonates with me and whose writing usually always keeps me interested, with lots of fun description, unlikable but interesting female characters, great narrative voices, and sneaky feminist humor. So I was a little (ok, very) bummed that I didn’t love this one. The premise is a good one: Lauren is moving back to the family home after a fractured and complex family history during which her mother accused her father of confessing to murder, and got him wrongfully (maybe?) imprisoned. Cool premise and lots of interesting ways the story could go from there, but the story didn’t take advantage of many of them and the first half was very slow. Not much happened except for a lot of pensiveness from Lauren about her family, whether her father may have been guilty and what her mother’s role was. The simultaneous flashback narrative from her mother was also quite slow. Things picked up considerably in about the last 25% of the book, but like my friend Susan who I read this with pointed out in her review, before that point I too was very frustrated with both Lauren and her mother and their propensities to let men get away with murder. Neither character was too strong or easy to identify with, and they both kept giving horrible men a ridiculous number of chances to be jerky, which was a bummer for me because I usually find Stone’s work to be very fun and feminist. This book wasn’t a waste because I always enjoy Stone’s writing style and voice, but it wasn’t as awesome as some of her others. I would have really preferred a faster pace, more plot/action in the first half, and more character development of some key characters. Having said this, I still love Stone and Jane Doe 4 life. I really enjoyed reading this with Javier and Susan who both had some great thoughts and insights so be sure to check out their reviews too! Thanks to Lake Union Publishing, NetGalley and Victoria Helen Stone for the advance copy!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Laura has a difficult relationship with her erratic mother who put her father in jail for the murder of a young cocktail waitress. When another man confesses to the crime a decade later her father is released and she moves in with him and the grandmother she never knew. Finally she has the family she has always wanted. Her mother still insists that he's guilty. Laura's grandmother suffers a stroke so Laura makes her way back to the ranch in Sacramento to help her grandmother recover but her gran Laura has a difficult relationship with her erratic mother who put her father in jail for the murder of a young cocktail waitress. When another man confesses to the crime a decade later her father is released and she moves in with him and the grandmother she never knew. Finally she has the family she has always wanted. Her mother still insists that he's guilty. Laura's grandmother suffers a stroke so Laura makes her way back to the ranch in Sacramento to help her grandmother recover but her grandmother would like her to buy the ranch and take it over for her. Feeling as if this is the fresh beginning she's looking for after a bad break up she jumps at the chance and finds herself really enjoying the home renovations she's started. Until she finds something that will change her mind about everything she thought she knew. We go back and forth between Laura (now) and her mother Donna (In the past) to find out what the actual truth is. This book was okay. I think my problem was that I didn't like Laura or Donna. Laura was too wishy washy and Donna was too feisty and both were a little annoying. They also both talk to themselves constantly which was ... weird. I mean, we all do it from time to time, but this was a little too much. I also didn't find the grand revelation all that grand as it was pretty much what I had suspected from the beginning. This is a perfectly fine read for a novice to the genre but it didn't leave any lasting impressions for this reader. 3 stars! Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for providing me with a digital ARC.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Javier

    I feel so disappointed right now. This was not what I was expecting from this author at all. Maybe the fact that I come from reading one of the best thrillers I've read this year did not help either. Where I was expecting more of a thriller I found a family drama so slow-burning, that for a moment I thought the flame had extinguished. And when I say slow I mean slooow. As usual lately with this type of books there's a dual timeline. In the present storyline we follow Lauren, who just moved to her I feel so disappointed right now. This was not what I was expecting from this author at all. Maybe the fact that I come from reading one of the best thrillers I've read this year did not help either. Where I was expecting more of a thriller I found a family drama so slow-burning, that for a moment I thought the flame had extinguished. And when I say slow I mean slooow. As usual lately with this type of books there's a dual timeline. In the present storyline we follow Lauren, who just moved to her grandma's home after she suffered a stroke. She didn't meet her father and his side of the family till she was 10 yo, because he was in prison for murder. And the one who sent him to prison was Donna, Lauren's mother, and her testimony. In the past line it's 1985, and Donna just found out she's pregnant. Her boyfriend Michael is married and, despite his promises of leaving his wife, the divorce never happens, so when Donna accuses him of murder, everyone thinks she's just resentful. I found both main characters pretty annoying. Lauren seemed more worried about live-streaming her house renovations to make her ex-boyfriend jealous (for a moment I thought I was watching a Property Brothers episode), and Donna was blind to how Michael was a complete piece of sh*t despite all his wrongdoings. The past line was so repetitive I felt I was reading the same scene over and over: Michael cheated or lied, Donna got angry, Michael said sorry and promised it would never happen again and Donna would relent and forgive him. Really? Wake up, girl!! There were some side plots introduced early on that I hoped would help to move things forward, but they were not used to their full potential and were solved in a lackluster way almost at the end. It is not till the last 10% that the action picks up the pace, leading to an ending that felt a bit rushed, specially if we consider how many pages of nothingness came before. Although not her best work, I'll still keep an eye out for the author's next books, specially if it's a follow up on Jane, my favorite sociopath! Another fun buddy read with Susan and Christina. Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Susan Z

    Lauren is called back to her childhood home which is full of wonderful memories of her father (Michael) and grandmother. Unfortunately, Lauren's life wasn't always so rosey. When she was very young, her mother Donna testified that Michael confessed to a murder. He was incarcerated until Lauren was 10 years old, at which point he was exonerated as the real killer came forward. Over the years, Lauren and Michael built a solid relationship while Lauren slowly pulled away from her lying mother. Year Lauren is called back to her childhood home which is full of wonderful memories of her father (Michael) and grandmother. Unfortunately, Lauren's life wasn't always so rosey. When she was very young, her mother Donna testified that Michael confessed to a murder. He was incarcerated until Lauren was 10 years old, at which point he was exonerated as the real killer came forward. Over the years, Lauren and Michael built a solid relationship while Lauren slowly pulled away from her lying mother. Years later she is back in her grandmother's house and her mom has resurfaced, warning her about that side of the family and the peril ahead. Lauren is sure her mom is cuckoo for cocopuffs, or is she? The story unfolds through present and past narration from Lauren and Donna's perspective. We are pulled into the time when Donna was pregnant and her relationship with Michael, which was far from perfect. Both Donna and Lauren were weak women who let the men in their life take advantage of them, and they left me so frustrated. This was a fast easy read, but it was missing something for me. When I reflect on the story, not much happened until the end, which was fantastic. But so much happened then it felt a bit too rushed. This was book a great buddy read with Javier and Christina. Thank you Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Susan's Reviews

    I was so excited to read the newest Victoria Helen Stone book, and the first chapter didn't disappoint me - much. Why did I get the impression, as I was plodding through the remaining chapters, that this was an old manuscript that was dusted off and given a quick edit to take advantage of the demand for new titles during these COVID Times? The main character, Lauren, comes across as vapid and directionless, and she really only grew a spine towards the end of the story. The plot went in so many dir I was so excited to read the newest Victoria Helen Stone book, and the first chapter didn't disappoint me - much. Why did I get the impression, as I was plodding through the remaining chapters, that this was an old manuscript that was dusted off and given a quick edit to take advantage of the demand for new titles during these COVID Times? The main character, Lauren, comes across as vapid and directionless, and she really only grew a spine towards the end of the story. The plot went in so many directions at once, but then seemed to retrace its steps and even repeat itself. I was often baffled, and even a bit bored. The two narrators, Lauren Abrams and her wild-cat, ungovernable mother, Donna, could not have been more different. Lauren was downright "wishy-washy" - never able to make up her own mind and afraid of discovering the truth, whereas Donna came out with both guns blazing and took no prisoners. Or at least she did, until she got pregnant with Lauren and then her hormones took over and all of her badass instincts kept being over-ruled and misdirected by the gutless and equally faithless Michael (Lauren's father). Promises, promises! Seriously, Donna? What a cast of dull, improbable and go nowhere characters. Even Donna had me rolling my eyes from time to time. You're guessing I was disappointed in this one right? YOU'D make a great detective! (Lauren was a bust!) How on earth did Lauren solve the mystery of who killed that poor girl - oops, oh yes, I forgot, Lauren got a confession, right from the horse's mouth. So there! I did guess the shenanigans involving the serial killer, but, that, too, was another convoluted story line. The writing is still good (I give high marks for good grammar!) but after a while I just prayed for a mercifully swift ending. Once you've read one of the Jane novels, indecisive heroines from this author just don't cut it for you anymore. I'm rating this one a 3.4 out of 5 because the author can write a decent sentence. My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    Review coming soon.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kari

    A pulsating family thriller filled with deception, a dark past, secrets and betrayal. This was a gripping read that takes some time to play out but it is all worth the wait. Who knows what to believe in this psychological mind twister that has you on your toes until the very last page.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    THE LAST ONE HOME BY VICTORIA HELEN STONE This is the first book that I have read from this acclaimed author who is well known for her Jane Doe series that a lot of people liked so I thought I would give her a try. I didn't like this slow moving tale about a man named Michael who we hear the story narrated by both his daughter Lauren and her mother Donna moving back and forth in time alternating in time periods and Donna voice and Lauren's. This was not a thriller and the story only picked up mome THE LAST ONE HOME BY VICTORIA HELEN STONE This is the first book that I have read from this acclaimed author who is well known for her Jane Doe series that a lot of people liked so I thought I would give her a try. I didn't like this slow moving tale about a man named Michael who we hear the story narrated by both his daughter Lauren and her mother Donna moving back and forth in time alternating in time periods and Donna voice and Lauren's. This was not a thriller and the story only picked up momentum during the last ten percent on my Kindle. During Donna's rants she comes across as a really unlikable character with coarse language which I did not care for. She is Michael's mistress who knowingly cheats with him behind his wife's back and gets pregnant with Lauren. She pressures him constantly to divorce his wife which he is dragging his feet. Michael's mother Elizabeth who also comes across as unlikable provides a cabin for Donna to live in on her property which is a big ranch with a lot of land. Elizabeth accepts this arrangement while knowing that Michael's wife knows nothing about Donna. Michael comes across as a weak and lying serial cheater as Donna follows him many times and catches him yet in lie after lie exposing him as a person not to be trusted. She discovers that a young waitress at a dive bar has gone missing and she thinks that he is responsible for her death and has him put away in prison until a serial killer takes responsibility for the young waitresses's death. Lauren is 35 year's old and has always believed that her mother Donna lied about her father's involvement in the death of the waitress and Lauren has been estranged from her mother for a few years. After Michael's mother Elizabeth has had a stroke, Elizabeth who is Lauren's grandmother offers to sell Lauren the ranch for a fraction of what it is worth. Lauren has always believed in her father;s innocence and thought that her mother tried to poison her mind against her father and her grandmother. Donna has maintained that she only wanted to keep Lauren safe. This was a very flat and not even a slow burning thriller. I wanted to really like this story and I thought that if I kept reading it that it would get better. With the author being a bestselling one I had high hopes for this but the last ten percent was the only time that the action picked up and even that was not enough to redeem this story. I will not be recommending this one as a thriller because it simply didn't captivate my attention and I am glad it was short and happy that I finished it. I have learned that I need to be more discerning when I request Titles unless I know of the author and have loved their previous work or else I am likely to find myself in this situation where a DNF isn't an option. I feel obligated to keep reading something that doesn't appeal to me because I am obligated to write an informed review. I am sorry that I didn't like this but maybe other people will. I wish the author every best wish for success with this regardless. Publication Date: March 23, 2021 Thank you to Net Galley, Victoria Helen Stone and Lake Union Publishing for providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. #TheLastOneHome #VictoriaHelenStone #LakeUnionPublishing #NetGalley

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cassie’s Reviews

    After a breakup with her long term boyfriend Lauren is trying to figure out who she is. She’s headed back to her grandmas house, she feels like spending time at the house and helping her grandma who just had a stroke. Soon after arriving she’s shocked her grandma tells her she’s giving her the house and she would prefer to be at a nursing home. Lauren’s mother Donna is less than thrilled, she tells her she’s making a mistake. Lauren doesn’t trust her mother because her mother lied and sent her f After a breakup with her long term boyfriend Lauren is trying to figure out who she is. She’s headed back to her grandmas house, she feels like spending time at the house and helping her grandma who just had a stroke. Soon after arriving she’s shocked her grandma tells her she’s giving her the house and she would prefer to be at a nursing home. Lauren’s mother Donna is less than thrilled, she tells her she’s making a mistake. Lauren doesn’t trust her mother because her mother lied and sent her father Michael to prison for ten years for murder, until the actual killer confesses and then he was released. Lauren soon finds herself renovating the old home and starting a DIY page and streaming her accomplishments for her new followers. The more she’s at the house the more she questions what really happened all those years ago for her mother to accuse her father of such a horrific crime? The book bounces to 1985 when Donna realizes she’s pregnant after an affair with a married man Michael. The relationship was casual but he had promised to divorce his wife. Donna moves to california and soon realizes Michael wasn’t completely honest, and he leaves a trail of broken promises and soon Donna accuses him of murder. As the two stories intertwine we learn more and we begin to question how many secrets are to many secrets? Is Lauren’s decision to renovate such a good idea? Was Donna just bitter or did Michael really commit murder? So many questions and the answers are shocking! Five stars!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    Lauren Abrams no longer has a relationship with her mother, whose testimony put Lauren's father away for murder years ago. After that time, a serial killer confessed to the murders and her father was set free. Lauren chose to live with her father and grandmother and put her past behind her. But now her grandmother has taken ill and she returns to Sacramento to help sort out her estate. Lauren settles into her old home but as the story unfolds, it is clear her family are hiding some secrets.  Whil Lauren Abrams no longer has a relationship with her mother, whose testimony put Lauren's father away for murder years ago. After that time, a serial killer confessed to the murders and her father was set free. Lauren chose to live with her father and grandmother and put her past behind her. But now her grandmother has taken ill and she returns to Sacramento to help sort out her estate. Lauren settles into her old home but as the story unfolds, it is clear her family are hiding some secrets.  While I loved the premise of this one and did enjoy it, it was more of a slow burn mystery with some good suspense. The start was quite slow for me but as it went along I needed to see how the mystery unfolded. 3.5* rounded up.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Avery Bishop

    Gripping and relentless, THE LAST ONE HOME stalks you like the serial killer within its pages: you know danger is right around the corner, but you don’t know when it’ll strike. And just when you think you have the story figured out, Victoria Helen Stone rips the rug right out from under your feet. Highly recommended!

  18. 5 out of 5

    This Feral Housewife

    An amazing book about the family we are given and the ones we make. With a bit of suspense thrown in for fun. Definitely one to add to your list.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tracie Gutknecht

    Mystery - 2.5* I was a huge fan of Stone's last novel, Jane Doe and couldn't wait to read this. Alas, it was a bit formulaic and I didn't like the main protagonist Lauren. Even though Stone split the narrative between Then/Now and between Laura and her mother Donna it couldn't save what was a pretty average mystery. Now - Lauren has broken up with her boyfriend and doesn't really know what to do with herself. She and her mother Donna have a contentious relationship. Her mother accused her father o Mystery - 2.5* I was a huge fan of Stone's last novel, Jane Doe and couldn't wait to read this. Alas, it was a bit formulaic and I didn't like the main protagonist Lauren. Even though Stone split the narrative between Then/Now and between Laura and her mother Donna it couldn't save what was a pretty average mystery. Now - Lauren has broken up with her boyfriend and doesn't really know what to do with herself. She and her mother Donna have a contentious relationship. Her mother accused her father of killing a woman and he spent 10 years in prison. He was released because another man took the blame for the murder. Her dad has remarried and has another family, so her relationship with him has become more tenuous. Her Grandmother has just had a stroke and they decide that Lauren should buy the family home and that her Grandmother will move into assisted living. The home needs some updates and Lauren is adrift, so decides to document her remodeling efforts online. She keeps turning up interesting tidbits on the family property. She also starts receiving notes from the man in prison that killed the woman her father was accused of murdering. Then - Donna gets pregnant by her boyfriend who is supposedly separated from his wife and soon to be divorced. She moves to Sacramento to be closer to him and finds out that his marriage isn't as quite over as she has been led to believe. Also, he seems to be trying to date other women on the side. Donna wants desperately to be a family with this man, so she allows herself to believe his lies. He desperately wants the child Donna is carrying and moves her onto his mother's property 45 minutes away. The farm is removed from everything and at first Donna thinks its the perfect solution. But, of course, events start happening that turn her idyllic fortress into something she needs to escape from. As a big fan of mysteries, it wasn't hard to see where this story was going. In fact, I was almost annoyed that it took Lauren so long to figure it out. Granted, as the reader, you are privy to inside information, but Lauren just seemed super naive. I don't like weak characters as a protagonist and even though Lauren did find her spine, it was too late. She is the character in a scary movie that you yell at for hiding in the woods, instead of getting in her car and leaving when bad things start happening. I'm going straight down the middle for this rating as the book is very readable and the story engaging, but as a mystery it falls short, for me. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my ARC of this novel.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Janilyn Kocher

    Stone writes a twisted tale of a fractured family. Lauren returns to the family home and begins rehabbing it. Her mother, whom she has a challenging relationship with, is upset with her. Lauren begins to investigate a family secret that challenges most of what she has known. The pace of the writing was good. I figured out who was to blame, but the character hides the malice very well. It’s a dual narrative which works. It’s a decent read. Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Press for the early re Stone writes a twisted tale of a fractured family. Lauren returns to the family home and begins rehabbing it. Her mother, whom she has a challenging relationship with, is upset with her. Lauren begins to investigate a family secret that challenges most of what she has known. The pace of the writing was good. I figured out who was to blame, but the character hides the malice very well. It’s a dual narrative which works. It’s a decent read. Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Press for the early read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Linda (un)Conventional Bookworms

    *I received a free copy of The Last One Home from NetGalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review which is honest and unbiased.* I can mostly just say wow! Stone has written an incredibly tense psychological thriller here, and I could not put the book down. Unreliable narrators, a mystery, flashbacks and present time seamlessly interwoven. Pick this up when it releases! You won't regret it :) *I received a free copy of The Last One Home from NetGalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review which is honest and unbiased.* I can mostly just say wow! Stone has written an incredibly tense psychological thriller here, and I could not put the book down. Unreliable narrators, a mystery, flashbacks and present time seamlessly interwoven. Pick this up when it releases! You won't regret it :)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    Our story begins with Lauren who hasn’t had the easiest of life after her Mother, Donna testified against her Father, Michael about a murder he apparently confessed to her, Lauren who was young at the time at ten years old was away from her father while he was imprisoned until the real killer came forward. Pretty tough for Lauren, so when she’s called back to her child hood home, it can’t be such a bad idea can it, she had some pretty great memories of her dad and her grandmother there, so why i Our story begins with Lauren who hasn’t had the easiest of life after her Mother, Donna testified against her Father, Michael about a murder he apparently confessed to her, Lauren who was young at the time at ten years old was away from her father while he was imprisoned until the real killer came forward. Pretty tough for Lauren, so when she’s called back to her child hood home, it can’t be such a bad idea can it, she had some pretty great memories of her dad and her grandmother there, so why is her Mother so against it? With an estranged relationship with her Mother and her toxic lies, Lauren puts it down to the fact that her mother is more batty than she thought, after she tries to worry her daughter about the dangers of her estate which her grandmother is passing on to her for a dwindled down price of what it is worth when she becomes to sick to look after it. The characters were dull, each with issues, Donna and Lauren were both weak, Michael was completely and utterly faithless, having a string of affairs including Donna, even though he was married and his Mother, Elizabeth was just vile. I didn’t have any relationship with them and didn’t really care about them either, which indicated to me, it wasn’t going to be one of those books that I would be consumed by. Character development is a really big thing with me, it’s almost 50% of the whole book in terms of likeability and reader satisfaction. The story itself was mediocre as the book goes by it flits between past and present narrated between both Donna and Lauren’s point of view, both characters I found irritating and would have liked to have seen them to be stronger women in the present having been weaker in the past. I don’t know, it’d be progression for me, whilst she wasn’t where I wanted her to be by the end of the story, she did improve slightly but mostly she was unable to pick a path and follow it. Donna was much the opposite in this respect until she was pregnant and then she became weedy and dull. Where is the fight, girls? It sure wasn’t in this one. An easy read however it seemed rushed and the story was slow up until the end and then it seemed kind of fast paced, it was an okay read just not my favourite, I wasn’t obsessed or flying high like I have been on other stories but that’s just the way it is. I haven’t read Victoria Stone before and would probably give her another go as she has a lot of popularity for her Jane Doe series, which seems to do well. This isn’t one I will recommend however as I found it dull, a real slow burner and not very thrilling at all but that’s not to say others won’t. I much prefer fast paced thrillers that have me captivated from the get go, I didn’t feel that this book did that. Giving thanks to Netgalley, Victoria Helen Stone, and Lake Union publishers as I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Thank you @amazonpublishing @netgalley for my review copy. I read Jane Doe a couple years ago and loved it! So I had high hopes for this one, expecting a hard to put down thriller. That wasn’t what this book was at all. I’d categorize it more of a slow family drama/mystery. Which is so not my jam. Honestly, it was pretty hard to finish. I wasn’t really interested until the last 20% and even then I thought that it was very predictable. If you like slow paced family dramas then you might like this, Thank you @amazonpublishing @netgalley for my review copy. I read Jane Doe a couple years ago and loved it! So I had high hopes for this one, expecting a hard to put down thriller. That wasn’t what this book was at all. I’d categorize it more of a slow family drama/mystery. Which is so not my jam. Honestly, it was pretty hard to finish. I wasn’t really interested until the last 20% and even then I thought that it was very predictable. If you like slow paced family dramas then you might like this, but don’t pick it up expecting a thriller. ⭐️⭐️

  24. 4 out of 5

    Becky Stanley

    I think this idea could have been decent as a short story, but as a full-length novel, it fell short. The premise sounded very interesting - a granddaughter moves into her grandmother's old house and starts renovating it, discovering secrets about her family's past in the process. However, the dialogue felt very stilted and awkward, the characters were unlikeable, and the plot dragged. * Thanks to NetGalley for the free ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review. I only wish I had liked th I think this idea could have been decent as a short story, but as a full-length novel, it fell short. The premise sounded very interesting - a granddaughter moves into her grandmother's old house and starts renovating it, discovering secrets about her family's past in the process. However, the dialogue felt very stilted and awkward, the characters were unlikeable, and the plot dragged. * Thanks to NetGalley for the free ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review. I only wish I had liked this book better!

  25. 5 out of 5

    blondethrillerbooklover

    I loved this book so much! It’s so complex and the characters are so 3 dimensional, so real. I was sad when the book was over. I wanted to stay in the story and continue following their lives. I really, really love this author’s writing style. She is a master at capturing personality traits- how they would authentically manifest in a situation ✨ ________________________________ Lauren has been estranged from her mother, Donna, for years. Lauren remains resentful to her mother for the lies she told I loved this book so much! It’s so complex and the characters are so 3 dimensional, so real. I was sad when the book was over. I wanted to stay in the story and continue following their lives. I really, really love this author’s writing style. She is a master at capturing personality traits- how they would authentically manifest in a situation ✨ ________________________________ Lauren has been estranged from her mother, Donna, for years. Lauren remains resentful to her mother for the lies she told all those years ago to send her father to prison. When Donna was pregnant with Lauren, she testified that Lauren’s father admitted to murdering a woman and he was convicted. Later, a convicted serial killer confessed to killing that woman and Lauren’s father was exonerated. Donna was considered a woman scorned, out for revenge. Lauren was furious at her mother and chose to go live with her father. Her father was her hero and gave her the life she dreamed of. Now, Lauren is an adult. Her grandmother has just had a stroke and Lauren returns to the old home where she lived with her father and grandmother. Slowly, old secrets come to light....

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany www.instagram.com/tiffs_bookshelf

    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is my first Victoria Helen Stone but it won't be my last. This book was so good!!!!!!!! At first I was conflicted about my feeling about the leading ladies Donna & her daughter Lauren but by the middle my feelings were totally twisted. Just like this story!!!!!! I loved this authors style of writing & the way she took you through so many mind spins & twists!!!!!! Thriller lovers will devoured this story. Thank you to Lake Union and Netgalley for my early review copy WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is my first Victoria Helen Stone but it won't be my last. This book was so good!!!!!!!! At first I was conflicted about my feeling about the leading ladies Donna & her daughter Lauren but by the middle my feelings were totally twisted. Just like this story!!!!!! I loved this authors style of writing & the way she took you through so many mind spins & twists!!!!!! Thriller lovers will devoured this story. Thank you to Lake Union and Netgalley for my early review copy

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sue Fernandez

    Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for a digital ARC of The Last One Home in exchange for my honest review. This book was such a page turner. I was completely blown away as the story progressed and the entire plot was, in my opinion, unique. When Lauren returns to her family home after her grandma falls ill, she is surprised that her grandma is willing to pass the house to her. Lauren's mom's testimony put her Dad in prison for murder, only to find that the testimony was a lie...so Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for a digital ARC of The Last One Home in exchange for my honest review. This book was such a page turner. I was completely blown away as the story progressed and the entire plot was, in my opinion, unique. When Lauren returns to her family home after her grandma falls ill, she is surprised that her grandma is willing to pass the house to her. Lauren's mom's testimony put her Dad in prison for murder, only to find that the testimony was a lie...someone else had committed the crime. We find that sometimes families will do anything to protect the things, and people, that they love, sometimes in extreme ways. Highly recommended.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Morelo

    Lauren is 35 years old, she is coming back to her Grandma's beloved house, where she grew up and created great memories with her father. Her return awakes her mother's fears again, she knows Lauren is making a mistake coming back, but Lauren doesn't trust her because when she was just a child, her mother lied and sent her father to prison for murder. He was in prison for 10 years, until the killer confessed. A story about the past, family, love, sacrifices, the true story about Lauren's life. . I Lauren is 35 years old, she is coming back to her Grandma's beloved house, where she grew up and created great memories with her father. Her return awakes her mother's fears again, she knows Lauren is making a mistake coming back, but Lauren doesn't trust her because when she was just a child, her mother lied and sent her father to prison for murder. He was in prison for 10 years, until the killer confessed. A story about the past, family, love, sacrifices, the true story about Lauren's life. . I read this book really fast, I was so eager to have answers because it keeps the secrets until the last pages. The story jumps between past and present, in the past we follow the mother's life when she was 35, pregnant and in love with Lauren's father, so we keep up what happens until she decides he is a murderer. In the present we have Lauren, all her recently struggles being an adult with an split family, a lot of lies, resentment, and her need to belong somewhere. I like that dynamic of having both perspectives, at the end I was feeling that the combination of both past and present gave the book more tension and made it more interesting. At the beginning I was not connecting with Lauren chapters, I thought there was nothing happening, she was a normal woman trying be useful and entertaining, but Donna's chapters had all the action and emotion, but once I read more and I advanced with the book, both chapters were exciting. I was feeling a lot of things, rage, sadness, frustration, anxiety and at the end there was an scene that scared me. The tension in the book was increasing through the pages, it started pretty normal but while I was reading I noticed how the author did a pretty good job creating and environment that scares and overwhelms. My favorite character is the Grandma I think is well constructed, I like Lauren but not that much at the beginning but I enjoyed reading her development and empowerment. The Father I didn't get to know him well, but with the information that I had I could picture him perfectly. I enjoyed a lot reading about Donna, she is pretty strong and badass. It was the first time that I read this author, I liked her style, there are a lot of details, descriptions, but specially the way she focus on the characters thoughts and feelings, allowing the readers connect and understand them. Definitely, this is a book about characters. I have to say is an slow burning reading, when you start reading is low tide, but then is all a storm and you won't be able to stop. Thanks Netgalley for my ARC in exchange of an honey review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Lauren Abrams has disdain for her mother because she believes that her mothers slanderous lies put her father in prison for murder. That was proven when a serial killer admitted to the murder her father was serving time for. Once her father was released, Lauren wanted as far away from her mother as possible and so she moved in with her father and grandmother. The story moves forward to when Lauren as an adult decides to move back to her family’s homestead and did not care what her mother had to Lauren Abrams has disdain for her mother because she believes that her mothers slanderous lies put her father in prison for murder. That was proven when a serial killer admitted to the murder her father was serving time for. Once her father was released, Lauren wanted as far away from her mother as possible and so she moved in with her father and grandmother. The story moves forward to when Lauren as an adult decides to move back to her family’s homestead and did not care what her mother had to say. Lauren’s mother Donna, is hiding a secret. She knows that Lauren shouldn’t be coming back. Donna does not want Lauren to know what really happened. Does Donna know more about the murder that saw her boyfriend do jail time? This is a very well written mystery with some twists that will have you trying to figure out The Who’s and why’s. The author has taken great care to ensure that the characters are well written and their personalities are accurate and balanced. I would highly recommend this book. Thank you to netgalley as well as the author/publisher for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Slow Burn Family Mystery With Explosive Twist. Let's get a common criticism dealt with up front: No, this is NOT a Jane Doe novel. That dispensed with, this *IS* a great example of Stone's ability to tell more than one type of story in more than one way. What we get here is a compelling slow burn family mystery involving killers, rapists, mistresses, and one confused kid. Told in dual timelines from the modern era and the 80s, we see mom and daughter explore their situations and come to startlin Slow Burn Family Mystery With Explosive Twist. Let's get a common criticism dealt with up front: No, this is NOT a Jane Doe novel. That dispensed with, this *IS* a great example of Stone's ability to tell more than one type of story in more than one way. What we get here is a compelling slow burn family mystery involving killers, rapists, mistresses, and one confused kid. Told in dual timelines from the modern era and the 80s, we see mom and daughter explore their situations and come to startling revelations - though neither is quite prepared for the explosive revelation at the end of the tale. This picks up some of the creepier elements of Christopher Rice's Blood Music while spinning an engrossing gothic - in the classic sense of the word, involving a foreboding building - mystery all its own. Very much recommended.

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