The No-Show
Grade : B

The No-Show didn’t quite jibe for me.  While Beth O’Leary normally can do no wrong in my eyes, this is the lowest grade I’ve given any of her books, and that’s for one reason – she expects us to feel sympathy for Joseph, the central guy here.  Naturally, she weaves a mature narrative out of this messy pile of lives being lived and lost, but I didn’t like him, and couldn’t buy his constant caterwauling.  Still, the book is well worth reading because O’Leary’s heroines are gloriously sublime.

This is the story of three women. Feisty Siobhan – Shiv - Kelly, a life coach who could’ve spent today with her FRIENDS instead of being stood up for a fancy date by her boyfriend, Joseph, thank you very much. She’s been waiting for him all morning, and is put out when he doesn’t arrive; normally they meet late at night once a month at a hotel for liquor, massage oil and booty calls. Then there’s innocent but tough Miranda Rosso, a tree doctor who’s looking to celebrate getting a brand-new job by having a lunch date with her boyfriend, Carter, with whom she thought she was getting serious until he dodges their meeting.  And finally there’s passive Jane Miller, new to town after being forced to start her life over, who mans a charity shop and whose friend Joseph Carter SAID he’d accompany her to another friend’s engagement party and pose as her boyfriend. True, they haven’t known each other for long, and when he first met her he lied his head off about his past, but he promised he’d be there. What’s even worse is that she’d thought Joseph was a romantic possibility and the event may have been a starting point.  Now her colleagues definitely don’t believe she has a relationship on the boil.

These three women don’t know they’ve been stood up on Valentine’s Day by the same man – Joseph Carter – who, seemingly, they’ve been dating simultaneously.  As they forgive him, let him back into their lives and march on with their relationships, all three women - and Joseph - are headed for a collision that will result in one of them meeting with a frightening end – and two of them learning more about love than they ever thought possible.

As always, O’Leary’s books are all about her heroines and how complex they are.  I loved overwhelmed but working-through-her-troubles Shiv, whose friendship with roommate Fiona is a delight, and who is still suffering from a break up with a guy she loved.  I loved Miranda, who finally sheds her ‘one of the guys’ mantle with a co-worker named AJ.  And I adored poor, shy Jane, who finally begins to build a life for herself and make non-Joseph friends in the form of Aggie.  All three women split my sympathy equally, and I adored them and was invested in their struggles.

But I desperately didn’t want any of these three to get a HEA with Joseph.  I just didn’t like the man, not at all, for reasons too numerous to count, and the way he often uses crying to manipulate all three women into forgiving him for his sins made me want to punch him.  He’s a different man with each of them – soft and blushing with Jane, aggressive and sexually forward with Shiv, somewhere in the middle with Miranda.  This read as sociopathy to me instead of his showing different parts of his personality to them. (I cannot tell you what it's intended to reveal as that would spoil the book). He tells direct lies about his devotion to them. That the narrative neatly disposes of one of them to facilitate a HEA for another also kind of galled me after what that character went through.  I did not believe that one of these women was the love of his life.  The way they resolve into a big happy friendly family also felt pretty ludicrous to me, but YMMV.

But for all I couldn’t stand Joseph, the story is about these women.  These complex, fascinating, infuriating and interesting women.  They kept me turning the pages to the end, and they are what makes The No-Show worth reading.

Also:  FFS publisher, this is a serious book with serious themes, not a cute romcom that needed a cartoon cover!

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local independent retailer

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Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes
Grade : B
Book Type: Women's Fiction

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : April 12, 2022

Publication Date: 04/2022

Review Tags: Contemporary romance

Recent Comments …

  1. Yep, that’s the long and short of it – I like her more as a contemporary writer because of this.…

Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by Firefox.org and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at http://thatbouviergirl.blogspot.com/, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thatbouviergirl or contribute to her Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/MissyvsEvilDead or her Ko-Fi at ko-fi.com/missmelbouvier
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