The Last Goodbye
When I first read Sarah Mayberry’s She’s Got It Bad, I realized I’d hit upon the kind of romance writer I love best: Quirky and unconventional, but convincing. I immediately glommed her backlist and put She’s Got It Bad on my DIK list. Since that time I’ve found her to be a writer worth following, but, like many unconventional writers, she’s either right on the mark or misses by a mile. Unfortunately, The Last Goodbye was one of the misses.
Australian newspaper advice columnist and professional house sitter Ally Bishop is alarmed when the elderly man living next door to her latest house-sit falls unconscious in his backyard. She follows the ambulance to the hospital to be told that he is in the advanced stages of cancer. To be helpful, she agrees to contact his son, successful furniture designer Tyler Adamson.
Tyler shocks her first by saying he doesn’t care if his father is dying and second by refusing to come and see the old man. Tyler remembers his mentally and physically abusive tyrant of a father, and can’t feel any pity for him.
Essentially, however, Tyler is a good person and after a little agonizing, returns to his childhood home and goes to the hospital to see his father. Being told his father can return home if modifications are made to it, Tyler guts up to return to the site of his bitter family memories. He cleans up the place, has the modifications made, and slowly comes together with Ally.
The biggest problem with the book is the fact that it feels unfinished. While I don’t care whether Tyler and his father have a weepy reunion moment, I did need Tyler and his brother with whom he is reunited to communicate more. Add this to the way the book seems to be divided into two disjointed halves, with the first part focusing on Tyler and his relationship with his family while the second part deals with Ally’s reluctance to settle down, the big issue items in the book seem to get glossed over for the HEA ending.
Given my disappointment, does this mean that Sarah Mayberry is off my reading list? Not yet. I think she’s a really talented writer who, like the rest of us, has her ups and downs. Unless the downs keep continuing (and her last The Best Laid Plans was terrific, so it doesn’t seem likely), she’s still one of my auto buys.