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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Last Caretaker

By: Jessica Strawser

ISBN: 978-1662510229

Publisher: Lake Union

Publication Date: 11/07/2023

Format: Other

My Rating: TBR


NOV Featured #AuthorElevatorSeries QA

A woman in search of a new beginning is put to the test in ways she never imagined in an empowering and provocative page-turner by the author of Not That I Could Tell.

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.

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About the Author

Photo by Corrie Schaffeld

Jessica Strawser is the author of five previous book club favorites: Almost Missed You, Not That I Could Tell (a Book of the Month selection), Forget You Know Me, A Million Reasons Why, and The Next Thing You Know, a People magazine Pick. She is editor-at-large at Writer’s Digest, where she curates the Learn by Example column; a popular speaker at writing conferences; and a freelance editor and writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and others. A Pittsburgh native and graduate of Ohio University’s prestigious E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, she lives with her husband and two children in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she served as 2019 writer-in-residence for the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library. For more information, visit


“A powerful and atmospheric tale that is equal parts emotion and suspense as a woman takes over as caretaker of a remote nature reserve, only to discover the barn is part of a dangerous underground network for victims of domestic violence. In The Last Caretaker, Strawser perfectly captures the perils of living in an isolated part of the world and the desperate measures some women must take in order to survive. A richly emotional page-turner with an important message.” ―Kimberly Belle, internationally bestselling author of Dear Wife and The Personal Assistant

“Riveting, harrowing, timely, and important. The story of a woman fleeing a difficult past who stumbles upon a network of safe houses for domestic violence victims, The Last Caretaker is that rare combination of page-turning thriller and an issue-driven book with deep resonance. I couldn’t put it down, I can’t stop thinking about it, and I know it will stay with me for a very long time.” ―Michele Campbell, internationally bestselling author of It’s Always the Husband

“Jessica Strawser’s powerful page-turner The Last Caretaker takes us on a dark, winding journey that forces the protagonist to grapple with how far she would go to do the right thing, and at what price. Katie’s new job as a residential caretaker in a nature reserve is not what it seems…far from it. Strawser expertly tackles the mysteries around caretaking at the Grove Reserve with unputdownable twists and turns, proving that while life can get messy, the trick is being strong enough to handle the knocks at your door. Brava!”

―Lisa Barr, New York Times bestselling author of Woman on Fire

“The Last Caretaker is as full of life, beauty, and menace as the nature reserve in which it is set. This masterfully constructed novel explores just how much we’re willing to risk to do what’s right. Jessica Strawser’s writing drew me in and refused to let go until the very last page.”

―Laura Hankin, author of The Daydreams

“The Last Caretaker is a relevant, absorbing exploration into the dark side of relationships. Strawser’s skillful insights capture what it means to be a caretaker―what it’s worth and the impact on ourselves and those around us. A powerful read from start to finish, thought provoking, and unputdownable.”

―Rochelle B. Weinstein, USA Today bestselling author

“The Last Caretaker is the best kind of book: important, surprising, brave. You’ll want all your friends to read it.”

―Ann Garvin, USA Today bestselling author of I Thought You Said This Would Work

Exceptional Authors.

Standout Books. Elevator Talk.




Q&A With Bestselling author

Jessica Strawser

Coming, Nov!

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