Cover Image: The Last Caretaker

The Last Caretaker

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Member Reviews

The Last Caretaker by Jessica Strawser was unputdownable. I can't wait to jump into this author's backlist. Well written and character development was on point.

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I really enjoyed this book. It was different than anything else I've read recently. I couldn't put it down! I will keep an eye out for this author's future work!

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Katie is starting over. Her marriage is over as well as her former career. She jumps at the chance to do something different but is she ready to maneuver all that is coming??
Katie dies have very poor taste in men.
The novel deals with a sensitive topic that many people grapple with but are sometimes uncomfortable to speak about.
It can bring hope to anyone who has experienced the same thing.

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Katie’s divorce was, in a word, humiliating. So when her friend Bess offers a fresh start—a residential caretaking job at a nature preserve—Katie accepts. No matter that she’s not exactly a “nature person.” How hard can it be?

But from day one, something feels off. Katie’s new farmhouse looks as if the last caretaker barely moved out at all. When a frantic, terrified woman arrives late at night, expecting a safe place to hide, it’s clear caretaking involves way more than Katie bargained for.

Katie can’t tell who she can trust: the brooding groundskeeper, the daily regulars—hikers, dog walkers, bird-watchers, photographers—even Bess.

As Katie digs deeper for clues in what the last caretaker left behind, she must discover courage she never knew she had—and decide how much she’ll risk to do the right thing.

I really enjoyed this story.

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A book about strong women who help each other. The author introduces us to well developed characters, who feel like people you might know in your own life and offer the reader the opportunity to read and discuss a not-so-easy topic like domestic violence. There is the mystery of what happened to the last caregiver and how Katie tries to solve this mystery.
I recommend reading it, although I thought the ending was a little rushed.

Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for providing me with an advance copy.

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Wanted to love this but I just didn't. It was an ok read for me and I did like some of the premise, specifically the isolation. I did feel like there were a lot of things included in the story that made the story choppy. I felt like the first book I read by this author was a bit stronger, but overall it wasn't bad. Thank you netgalley for this arc in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Jessica Strawser always puts a lot of thought into her novels, and that especially shows in her latest, The Last Caretaker. The story is not what I was expecting, but it was interesting and well-told.

Katie was put into an interesting situation when she became the caretaker at a forest preserve. It started with some knocks on her door in the middle of the night and escalated from there, leading Katie to solve some mysteries about the situation and also handle it as best as she could as it was happening. There was an element of suspense and it gave me chills. It was hard to know who to trust...

The descriptions really brought the story to life and I was able to visualize everything so easily, without it taking away from the narrative.

I was able to guess at certain aspects of the story but was completely surprised by everything else. Some parts felt slow to me and there were times the explanation of things felt vague and confusing. However, it was still really interesting and I appreciated the position Katie was put in, as it was one that would have an impact and could really help others.

Fun side note: Toward the beginning of the novel, I had the song "Hey Jude" in my head, as it popped in randomly. A moment later, a character introduced himself as Jude. I love having psychic moments like that!

Like with all of Jessica's books, this one is definitely worth checking out!

(Trigger warning below.)

Movie casting suggestions:
Katie: Addison Timlin
Jude: Adam Driver
Bess: Scout Taylor-Compton
Ryan: Asher Grodman
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TW: Domestic violence

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Katie’s divorce was, in a word, humiliating. So when her friend Bess offers a fresh start—a resident caretaking job at a nature preserve—Katie accepts. No matter that she’s not exactly a “nature person.” How hard can it be?

But from day one, something feels off. Katie’s new farmhouse looks as if the last caretaker barely moved out at all. When a frantic, terrified woman arrives late at night, expecting a safe place to hide, it’s clear caretaking involves way more than Katie bargained for.
Suddenly, Katie is no longer sure who she can trust: the brooding groundskeeper, the daily regulars—hikers, dog walkers, bird-watchers, photographers—even Bess.
As Katie digs deeper for clues in what the last caretaker left behind, she must discover courage she never knew she had—and decide how much she’ll risk to do the right thing.
It was awesome.
Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union publishing for giving me an advance copy.

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I enjoyed the setting in this book. It was isolated and you really got a creepy claustrophobic feeling at times. That said, I felt like the last third or so of the book lost tension and meandered a bit and it made it difficult to maintain interest in the plot. I thought the writing was clunkier than in her earlier books. This felt a bit rushed.

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this one was just okay. i really wanted to like it, but it didn't work for me. i think if you're into sweet little romances, then you'll probably like this one. but who knows?

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Even though I saw one of the bigger twists from a mile away, this is one of the best books I have ever read simply for the empowering themes throughout. It’s not so much a thriller or suspense novel anyways, so it was ok that part of the plot was predictable. I absolutely loved the caretaker character, and I wish this book would take a hold of the girl power movement like a certain toy doll did. Women need books like this to remind us that we are on the same team, and there are good men and women out there who still subscribe to the notion of being a good neighbor. Hopefully, this book will fall into someone’s hands and change their life once they realize that they are valuable. A moving story with a fitting ending is the best way to describe this book.

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I judged this book by its beautiful cover and couldn’t wait to read it. It’s advertised as a thriller which is one of my favorite genres, but it fell a little flat. I would say The Last Caretaker is a popcorn thriller/mystery.

Read if you like:
-women who take risks
-unusual setting
-complicated relationships

TW: domestic abuse

While I really enjoyed The Last Caretaker, it was slow at times. I would recommend the book to readers who like a bit of mystery but don’t enjoy thrillers.

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Now this is not the genre I would normally read, but I couldn't put it down! It was a great story with great writing.

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I really enjoyed this. The suspense kept me engaged wanting to know what happened to the last caretaker. Would like to read more from this author.

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I absolutely adored this book and couldn't put it down! The plot and characters had me hooked from the start and I loved how original the concept was too. I really hope there are more books to continue on with the story of the Sequence, and I will keep an eye out for more books by this author.

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There is some domestic violence triggers but I don’t think it was enough to skip this book if that bothers you. This story really represented self discovery and the magic of friendships. I enjoyed the strange setting and the plot overall.

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I liked the premise of this novel, a woman makes a dramatic change in her life.following divorce. However the sheer slow pace of the story and the full musings of the Katie character failed to engage me.

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What do you do when you're fresh off a divorce and need to recharge and reset? Why, become a nature preserve caretaker, of course! This is what Katie does, at the suggestion of her longtime best friend Bess. But then things start to get weird...

I wanted to like this a whole lot more than I did. The premise was great, but to pace could be a slog and Katie was, frankly, an idiot. She butted her nose in where it didn't belong, not even worrying who or what she was putting at risk by doing so. And ultimately, being put in charge of your young nieces and then ON THE FIRST night leaving them along in the house to go traipse around the woods because you HAD to know the secrets...oh hell no. And then...and then...sending the same children off the next day into the woods with a man you barely know?!? Come on.

Anyway...I'm not done with Jessica Strawser, but I am done with this book (and Katie).

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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The Last Caretaker is a fine suspense thriller, but even better as a platform to examine the most difficult and under supported policing in the criminal area of domestic violence. Although, Strawser presents a suspect perspective on this issue, a reading of the novel does open up a debate on ways to combat this violence.

There are some ends left untied at the end of the novel, which makes the reader think of various options for the characters in the future. This is all good. There is an admirable reader's guide attached, whose prompts can lead to more nuanced discussions of this issue.

The characters are varied and complex, although I wished to know more about how Katie functioned in her previous life. The leap into Bess' world seemed too unexplained without a first person POV. I longed to "feel" her more in the outdoors and see a connection to her earlier life, even if Katie herself wasn't aware of the connection.

The plot works, with the one drawback that the reader becomes aware that the amount of dialog was too long for the urgency of a deadline - leaving a child unattended, for example. I'm not exactly sure how an editor could have helped this, but that is the only area I could see for improvement.

Good job, and a needed POV on a current issue. Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Premise of the book is good and i liked the setting however fell kind of flat for me. I didn't find it suspenseful at all.
Apart from her marriage breakdown, all i know about Katie is because she tells us what Bess is and says she is the opposite. For paragraphs. And of course, she didn't feel good enough. Sometimes i wished she'd just shut up and do something and when things started ramping up, i didn't really care enough for the character to be worried.
I would have preferred to read about all the other characters in the book than being stuck in Katie's head.

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