The Last Gift

Written by Carla Acheson
Review by Rachel Malone

Death and disease is ever present in the slums of Victorian London, Maggie Tanner is a girl only just into double figures when she finds herself in the position of having to bring an income in to help her family survive. Soon she finds herself as a servant to an upper class family, looking after their youngest son. When their eldest son returns from university, she falls in love and also finds just how difficult life can be for a woman carrying an illegitimate child.

The Last Gift is an excellent story and wonderfully written. Acheson has a gift herself for being able to bring the grit of poverty to life while still showing how endearing and necessary friendship and family can be. Tanner’s life is, in places, bleak and seemingly without hope which can sometimes make the read a bit of a chore.  However, there is light at the end of the tunnel and there is no denying the pain Tanner feels is realistic.  It is a testament to Acheson’s talent that you feel alongside her.

The Last Gift is by no means a ‘light’ read, the emotional depth given can mean the book can sometimes be difficult to get through. Once again though, this is something that can only be a compliment to the author.  Definitely not one for a holiday read, but certainly one to get your teeth into.