I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The No-Show by Beth O'Leary
Also by this author: The Flatshare
Published by Berkley Books on April 12, 2022
Pages: 352 •Format: E-ARC •Source: NetGalley
Siobhan is a quick-tempered life coach with way too much on her plate. Miranda is a tree surgeon used to being treated as just one of the guys on the job. Jane is a soft-spoken volunteer for the local charity shop with zero sense of self-worth.
These three women are strangers who have only one thing in common: They've all been stood up on the same day, the very worst day to be stood up--Valentine's Day. And, unbeknownst to them, they've all been stood up by the same man.
Once they've each forgiven him for standing them up, they let him back into their lives and are in serious danger of falling in love with a man who seems to have not just one or two but three women on the go....
Is there more to him than meets the eye? And will they each untangle the truth before they all get their hearts broken?
I can never resist a romance novel that combines an interesting synopsis with an adorably illustrated cover, so I knew I had to read The No-Show by Beth O’Leary, even adding it to my Most Anticipated Reads of the First Half of 2022 list. I was thrilled to be approved on NetGalley to read what I thought was going to be an anti-romance, John Tucker Must Die type of story…and let’s just say while the story was compelling, I was way off base in my predictions!
The story follows three female protagonists who all have the same love interest but are all very, very different. Siobahn is a calculating, high achieving life coach, Miranda is a warm hearted tree-surgeon (I had no idea that was a thing!) and Jane is a down-on-her-luck charity shop volunteer harboring a deep secret. All three fall for the enigmatic Joseph Carter, who while on the surface seems to be a charming and dedicated sort of fellow, acts cagey around his relationships and whereabouts, especially when it comes to Valentine’s Day, where he seems prone to standing his dates up.
It took me a bit to get into the story, as at first I wasn’t sure how all three women’s experiences with Joseph were interconnected, and it felt a bit jarring jumping from one POV to another. However, as I became more invested, I become more confused- I kept looking for reasons to doubt Joseph, waiting for him to be caught red-handed, wanting the girls to somehow meet each other and band together to take him down (I clearly have watched too many teen dramas). While waiting for the other shoe to drop with Joseph, the story gradually shifted in tone, going from a lighthearted rom-com to something deeper and more emotional. Secrets start spilling out that layer upon each other and explain how all the women are linked, eventually leading to a twist that I absolutely did not see coming. I can’t say much as I don’t want to spoil anyone, but I do think that the author did a clever job at layering the stories of Siobhan, Miranda and Jane and I found myself going back through the story to hunt for clues I may have missed once I discovered the twist!
While this book was pleasantly surprising and not at all what I expected, I think what stood out to me the most was not the romance(s), but rather the individual support systems that each woman had and how they all came into their own during their relationship with Joseph, not because of him but rather in spite of him. Siobhan learns to let herself be taken care of and leans on some really wonderful, solid relationships she’s always kept a bit at arms length, Miranda’s eccentric little sisters prove they are there for her through thick and thin (as well as her fellow tree-surgeon bros), and Jane finds an eccentric found family amongst her small little circle in Winchester who show her what it means to be loved even if you’re quiet and painfully shy. There’s something really beautiful in O’Leary’s weaving of friendships and found family in this story.
Overall: If you’re looking for a truly lighthearted rom-com, this probably isn’t the story for you. But if you are looking for a story that starts light but ends up tugging on your heart strings with some carefully layered storytelling, this one definitely hits the spot!