The Last in Love
In The Last in Love, Abby is a widow who has just barely put her life back together. Justin is a volunteer firefighter who has the hots for her, but he’s five years younger and she is super skeeved out by that. Justin isn’t discouraged, and pursues her until she agrees to date him. Problem is, he’s keeping some secrets that could tear their tenuous relationship apart. Will they learn the value of vulnerability and connection before it’s too late?
This book is fine. I hate that, don’t you? When you finish a book, you want the characters to stay with you; you want to have read a book that makes the time spent reading it worthwhile. To read a book, close it, and then shrug my shoulders and say, “well, that was a book” just makes me sad. There’s nothing objectively wrong with this type of book – that’s why they’re simply ‘fine’. And yet, reviewing them is about 400 times more difficult than reviewing a really bad book. At least with a bad book, I can dust off one soap box or another and tell you why I’m so angry. I cannot lie, y’all, to rant in a review is a special sort of joy. Reviewing a book that is perfectly fine? Torture. I don’t want to discourage anyone from The Last in Love – it’s not a bad book! – but I can’t really recommend it.
One of the problems with reviewing such a book is that it falls out of my head really quickly, so I’m relying entirely on my notes to help you figure out if this one is for you or not. The major conflict in the first half of the story is Abby’s perception that five years is too big of an age gap for her to be in a relationship with Justin. This perception is not helped by the fact that she used to babysit for him, so I gave her some time to be bothered by that. But… we had to give her a lot of time. To the point where I wasn’t actually sure if I should be more annoyed with her for dragging her feet or for him for pressuring her into a situation she wasn’t comfortable with.
I think the author was going for sweet, or gentle even. It’s a small story. By that I mean that the conflict keeping the principals apart is entirely within their control and so the story moves at their pace. This can make for a really intimate tale where a reader gets to know the very core of the characters. In general, though, this format works better for a novella or short story, as the internal tension rarely works for the length of a full book. At some point, I just roll my eyes and tell the characters to either go to therapy or break up. I did that a lot here.
Your mileage will vary, clearly, based upon how much you enjoy small stories, or based on your tolerance and/or affection for these particular folks. If you like quiet, sweet novels, you may find a story to lose yourself in here. If you’re looking for wit, banter, and steamy sexytimes, then definitely move along.