The Last Piece by Imogen Clark is a wonderfully crafted and unique piece of fiction based on a social policy in the UK during the late 1960’s. It is a compelling yet heart-wrenching piece of history that I’m sure was instituted with the best intentions in mind but had long term effects on multiple generations of people. Using extensive research Clark is able to bring to life the experience and its aftermath in a poignant and realistic fictional story.
This is a difficult review to write without including spoilers so excuse my vagueness. From page one Clark piques your interest in the characters and hooks you into the mystery that is unfolding. She skillfully hides the theme through the beginning chapters of character interactions and events while giving the reader bit after bit of information, like bread crumbs on a trail, to lead the reader to the plot in the most unexpected way. The resulting story is a highly captivating yet deeply emotional journey through an experience that may be more common that one would think. I was entertained by the variety of characters and their reactions to Cecily’s disappearance and “secret” while also taken by surprise by the book ending.
Imogen Clark writes in a light, even humorous manner, while delving into a difficult and heart-rendering topic. She creates characters that bring life and authenticity to the topic and a story-line that is well-paced and captivating. The Last Piece is a fantastic story that is both an entertaining fictional work but and enlightenment of a social policy from 1960 Britain which addresses the impact this policy might have had on not only those involved but also their unknowing family members. The Last Piece will make a wonderful addition to any women’s fiction collection.