Thursday, April 4, 2013

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: "And One Last Thing" by Molly Harper

And One Last Thing ...

And One Last Thing by Molly Harper; Narrated by Amanda Ronconi
For Ages 18+
Contemporary Romance
Gallery Books/Audible, Inc. -- July 2010
Audiobook, 8 hours and 23 minutes

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?

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.

Anybody who reads my blog knows that, in the past year, Molly Harper has become my go-to author for fun, light-hearted paranormal romance with her Jane Jameson and Half-Moon Hollow series.  There is just something about Harper's voice that connects so well with my tastes from her fiery independent heroines to her super sexy heroes to her gut-busting sense of humor.  Despite that, I wasn't sure what to expect from And One Last Thing with its contemporary setting.  But, my fears were unfounded because I thought this book was a hilarious and thought-provoking look at one woman's reaction to her life turning upside down.

This book centers around Lacey Terwilliger who has just discovered that her husband, Mike, has been cheating on her for almost a year...with his secretary.  Like many women who find themselves in that type of situation, Lacey is ashamed that she never suspected the affair and, at first, is a bit lost as to how she is supposed to react.  But, then her still unsuspecting husband reminds her that it is time to send out his accounting firm's monthly newsletter which allows Lacey to take revenge by publishing a mass email depicting all the lovely details of Mike's extra-martial activities.  And, while the revenge is sweet, it is also short-lived when the newsletter goes viral and she is forced to go into hiding to avoid the scandal.

I really enjoyed reading about Lacey's journey from scorned wife to independent single woman.  She is a very funny and admirable narrator who does not shy away from cynical views about everything from her marriage to her in-laws to the rest of her small town.  By "hiding out" at her family's lake house, Lacey is given time to figure out what to do with her life now that she is no longer forced to be Mike Terwilliger's unpaid administrative assistant and housewife and it was really powerful to read about her development.  This is a woman who pushed her own dreams aside in order to help her husband become a successful accountant and now she is given to opportunity to take a second chance at them.

While at the cabin, Lacey meets her reclusive, and handsome, neighbor, Lefty Monroe aka "Wolverine" for his resemblance to Hugh Jackman in his X-men years.  Monroe and Lacey's chemistry is obvious from the moment they meet each other, but things get off to a bit of a rough start with both of them not being willing to deal with someone else invading their personal space.  Thankfully, for readers, they manage to get past those issues and develop an entertaining friendship that provides both of them with the companionship they desperately desire.  There are definite overtones of romance with these two, but Lacey's journey remains the main focus of the book which I found refreshing and realistic because of the situation.

Besides Monroe, Lacey also establishes a small group of people that she can rely on to have her back throughout the trials of her post-newsletter infamy.  I loved meeting all of these fascinating side characters from Lacey's shark of a divorce lawyer, Sam, to Maya, another scorned woman who turned her situation into a lucrative business deal that she wants to share with Lacey.  Both of these ladies allowed Lacey to develop her own friendships (which she was unable to do while married to the elitist Mike).  I also loved the scenes between her and her gay brother, Emmett.  These two siblings really get each other and know how to help without smothering.  Plus Emmett's commentary on the marriage is just hilarious!

I also have to mention Harper's depiction of Lacey's ex, Mike.  She could have easily turned him into a caricature or stereotype by portraying him as verbally abusive or power hungry.  But, what she really did was showcase a spoiled man who never had to deal with someone going against his wishes including his own parents.  While Mike may have contributed to Lacey's dependent situation by persuading her to not work, he did not do it out of a masochistic need to keep his wife under this thumb, he just wanted his life to be as carefree as possible.  This made it easier for me to feel sympathy for Lacey since we have all met self-centered people like that who are not inherently cruel, just clueless.

And, like always with a Molly Harper book, I have to give a shout-out to Amanda Ronconi, the audiobook narrator.  Ronconi's talent is so impressive and she really helps bring the book to life with her enthusiastic reading and impeccable comedic timing.  Harper has a definite style and Ronconi is just a perfect narrator for it.

All in all, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed And One Last Thing especially because it was a straight contemporary which is not my usual genre of choice.  But, it goes to show that when an author works for one's taste, it doesn't matter what the subject matter is.  I found this book to be a hilariously poignant look at Lacey's journey to independence that I definitely recommend to fans of Molly Harper's books or entertaining contemporary romances.

***4 Stars***

--Maybe the problem was that we never struggled. We just coasted along. The thing about coasting is that it usually means you're going downhill.

--And one last thing, believe me when I say I will not be letting Mike off with “irreconcilable differences” in divorce court. Mike Terwilliger will own up to being the faithless, loveless, spineless, useless, dickless wonder he is.


1 comment:

  1. So glad you liked this one! I happen to love contemporary books and I am totally sold on Molly Harper.


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