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Monday, March 2, 2015

And One Last Thing ... by Molly Harper


"If Singletree’s only florist didn’t deliver her posies half-drunk, I might still be married to that floor-licking, scum-sucking, receptionist-nailing hack-accountant, Mike Terwilliger."

Lacey Terwilliger’s shock and humiliation over her husband’s philandering prompt her to add some bonus material to Mike’s company newsletter: stunning Technicolor descriptions of the special brand of "administrative support" his receptionist gives him. The detailed mass e-mail to Mike’s family, friends, and clients blows up in her face, and before one can say "instant urban legend," Lacey has become the pariah of her small Kentucky town, a media punch line, and the defendant in Mike’s defamation lawsuit.

Her seemingly perfect life up in flames, Lacey retreats to her family’s lakeside cabin, only to encounter an aggravating neighbor named Monroe. A hunky crime novelist with a low tolerance for drama, Monroe is not thrilled about a newly divorced woman moving in next door. But with time, beer, and a screen door to the nose, a cautious friendship develops into something infinitely more satisfying.

Lacey has to make a decision about her long-term living arrangements, though. Should she take a job writing caustic divorce newsletters for paying clients, or move on with her own life, pursuing more literary aspirations? Can she find happiness with a man who tells her what he thinks and not what she wants to hear? And will she ever be able to resist saying one . . . last . . . thing?

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I went into this book expecting some light entertainment, and pretty much got what I came for. Infused throughout with a snarky sense of humor, this book held many laugh out loud moments for me. While the basic plot may not be anything entirely new, the wry, self-deprecating humor with which the Lacey tells us her story makes it unique, and as preposterous as the situation seems at first, it's really not that hard to see it happening for real. What I ultimately liked most about it though is that instead of being a simple story of "woman ditches cheating husband then finds true love," it's primarily a story about Lacey's journey in figuring out who she really is and what she really wants from life once she breaks free of the cycle of simply doing what others expect her to do. There is something of an HFN ending to it, but not really a HEA.



Lacey has been coasting along in her marriage to Mike for years, doing everything that's expected of her to fit in and be socially acceptable in their small town. She's not exactly happy, but she's more or less content--at least until a mis-delivered flower bouquet clues her in to the fact that her husband is cheating on her and has been for quite some time. When she leaves him and retreats to the lake house to figure out what to do with her life now, she is initially at a loss. While she receives advice from many people, and several try to tempt her into one occupation or another, she is determined to take her time and figure out for herself what she wants and to not let others make her decisions for her anymore. It takes her a long while to truly come to terms with all that's happened, to make her peace with the past and decide which road to take going forward, but eventually she does so, gaining a great deal of maturity along the way.

We learn far less about Monroe than we do Lacey, but that's to be expected in large part since we're only given Lacey's POV throughout the entire novel. Without being able to get into his head it's impossible to really know him as well as we do Lacey by the end. Still, we do learn that he's still on the rebound himself from a relationship that ended badly, as well as having to end his career as a cop after being injured in the line of duty. He's as hesitant as Lacey is to enter into another relationship, but ultimately is the one that is the first to become ready. Perhaps because he's had longer to heal than Lacey has. While he is often frustrated by Lacey's tendency to be rather flaky, and to bolt at the first sign things might become serious between them, he is generally very understanding of where she's at emotionally with her divorce and trying to get her life back onto some sort of track. He will ultimately be a very good partner for her I think.

While I'd categorize this as being primarily a romance story, it kind of is and it isn't. As noted, much of the story is comprised of watching Lacey work through various mental and emotional stages as she discovers her husband's infidelity, decides what to do about it, leaves him, and then deals with the fallout from the way she left at the same time she's trying to figure out what she wants to do now. The casual romance she eventually enters into with Monroe is often more of a sideline to her internal soul searching and healing process, though it's usually a fairly entertaining sideline. Add in the often amusing antics of her gay brother, and the ever present humor keeps Lacey's serious struggles from ever becoming maudlin.

Overall I enjoyed this book, though it's certainly nothing earth shattering. It was entertaining though, and was pretty much exactly what I was looking for which is a lighthearted, funny book to listen to at work for a couple days. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for the same, primarily those who enjoy contemporary romance, particularly of the humorous chick lit sort. I give this 3½ stars, rounded up for the standard rating systems since I think it deserves to be pushed higher rather than lower.

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