In The Last Thing to Burn, Thanh Dao and her sister Kim-Ly are smuggled into the UK by shipping container from Vietnam. They promised before leaving to pay off their transportation costs over ten years. After that, they would both be free of work obligations.
However, after a couple of years, Thanh Dao was sold to rural subsistence farmer, Lenn. Trapped in his house, miles from help, Lenn exerts total control over Thanh. She is his servant and sex slave. When she tries to run away, he hobbles her. She has lost hope and lives for the horse tranquilizer Lenn provides her. Until she becomes pregnant. She can’t allow her child to live this way. She must make another escape attempt.
Thanh is one of the strongest characters I’ve read in a while. Her heartfelt tale is heart-wrenching too. Unlike the similar plot in Room, this tale also describes how heart-breaking human trafficking can be. Whatever side of the illegal immigration issue you are on, it is hard not to root for Thanh to survive.
If you are looking for a genuine tale of courage, pick up The Last Thing to Burn. You won’t be disappointed. 5 stars!
Thanks to Emily Bestler, Atria Books, and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.