Laura Dave Turned Her Cheating Wife Into A ‘Hero’

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LOST FOUND OFFICE In 2002, shortly after Enron filed for bankruptcy, in an NBC interview, Linda Lay insisted that its founder and CEO – her husband – were innocent in the accounting scandal. affixed to the trial, Laura Dave I watched Lay on TV and thought: What if you believed your husband was one person until the world told you he was someone else? As she said: “Can we ever get to know the people we love the most?”

Nearly two decades later, that question brought Dave’s sixth novel, “The Last Thing He Said To Me,” to #3 on the hardcover fiction chart in its 11th week. “I wanted the answer to be yes,” he said.

Like Lays’ story, most fiction in this subgenre of uncovered marriage secrets is about a woman who is embarrassed by a husband’s deceptions. But Dave “wanted Hannah to be a hero” as she learned the truth behind the disappearance of her husband, an engineer at a rogue Bay Area tech company. (“How is that possible?” Hannah thinks in shock. “They are not Enron.”)

This is Dave’s first thriller after five books of popular fiction, and “I wanted this to be a thriller based on hope.” What it means: Just because we’ve been betrayed doesn’t mean we never knew the person or were wrong to trust them.

“Details may change,” he said. “But there might be something more central, more emotional, to be able to to know about someone underneath all that.”

He started the book in 2012, stopped and started writing and rewriting until I finished it last year. (Meanwhile, he wrote and published the best-selling “Eight Hundred Grapes” and “Hello Sunshine.”)

As Dave writes, he listens to a song over and over to keep himself “integrated” into the story. He says he’s played Bruce Springsteen’s “If I Should Behind” 13,000 times in eight years.

And he never knows where he’s going before he gets there. “I was exploring what was going on while Hannah was there,” he said. After taking a break from writing “Eight Hundred Grapes,” Dave saw in “The Last Thing” the resolution of a plot that had been holding him back for years.

A selection of Reese’s Book Club, “The Last Thing He Said To Me” is fast-paced (“I never want to bore you”) but heartwarming. An improvement between 2012 and now was the birth of Dave’s child five years ago.

“This really flipped it for me,” she said. “I realized this was the first story of Hannah becoming a mother.” It may start with a lost husband, but this tension is also a tribute to starting a family.

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