Published: April 12th 2022
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance Novel
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook
Happy Publication day to Beth O’Leary! I’m delighted to share my review for this magnificent novel as part of the social media blast. Thank you to Ella at Quercus for the invitation to take part and the gifted finished copy of the book.
The funny, heart-breaking and uplifting new novel from the bestselling author of The Flatshare
Three women. Three dates. One missing man…
8.52 a.m. Siobhan is looking forward to her breakfast date with Joseph. She was surprised when he suggested it – she normally sees him late at night in her hotel room. Breakfast on Valentine’s Day surely means something … so where is he?
2.43 p.m. Miranda’s hoping that a Valentine’s Day lunch with Carter will be the perfect way to celebrate her new job. It’s a fresh start and a sign that her life is falling into place: she’s been dating Carter for five months now and things are getting serious. But why hasn’t he shown up?
6.30 p.m. Joseph Carter agreed to be Jane’s fake boyfriend at an engagement party. They’ve not known each other long but their friendship is fast becoming the brightest part of her new life in Winchester. Joseph promised to save Jane tonight. But he’s not here…
Meet Joseph Carter. That is, if you can find him.
The No-Show is the brilliantly funny, heart-breaking and joyful new novel from Beth O’Leary about dating, and waiting, and the ways love can find us. An utterly extraordinary tearjerker of a book, this is O’Leary’s most ambitious novel yet.
“Three women. Three dates. One missing man…”
Oh, my heart. How am I supposed to read anything else after this? The No-Show was one of my most anticipated books of 2022 and it exceeded every one of my sky-high expectations. Beth O’Leary hasn’t merely done it again with this novel; she’s outdone herself. I devoured it in under a day and was left with one of the biggest book hangovers I’ve ever had.
The No-Show is a story not just about love, but about learning who you are and loving that person, about going after what you want and stepping out of your comfort zones. Told by a trio of female narrators, the story opens on Valentine’s Day. First we meet Siobhan who is waiting for Joseph, her favourite London hook-up, to meet her for breakfast. Next we meet Miranda who is looking forward to lunch with Carter, her boyfriend of five months. And then there’s Jane, who’s relying on her friend Joseph Carter to be her fake boyfriend to save her from humiliation at an engagement party. It is soon clear that all three women were meeting the same man, though he is someone and something different to each of them. You see where this is going, right? Yeah, I thought so too…
“Being a human is messy… Sometimes you just need to let yourself feel something, even if it’s ugly.”
Wonderfully choreographed, intricately woven and cleverly plotted, The No-Show is like a treasure trove: its secrets hidden under layers you have to peel back in order to discover the gems hidden at the bottom. It is a story that breaks your heart into pieces and then puts it back together again, giving you back the hope you thought you’d lost. It is a clear-your-schedule-and-lock-out-the-world kind of book; and it utterly consumed me.
Narrators Siobhan, Miranda and Jane are three very different women who share similar hopes, dreams and insecurities. They are flawed, relatable, likeable and real; the kind of women you can imagine knowing yourself, and by the end of the book they felt like friends to me. They each had qualities I admired but it was ultimately bookworm Jane that I found myself relating to most of all. I found this amusing as an online quiz I took a number of months ago had said that I was a Jane. I guess sometimes those quizzes are right.
And then there’s Joseph. For most of the story I wasn’t sure what to make of him. Was he simply a cad who’s callously playing with their hearts or is there more to him than meets the eye? As time went on I did begin to think there was something we didn’t yet know that might help us see beyond his façade and enable us to get to know the man underneath. If only he would let us.
“Remember everyone thought Ted Bundy was really sweet! Nobody ever suspects the nice guy!”
Beth O’Leary is an exquisite storyteller who knows how to get to the heart and soul of both her characters and readers. She makes the world around you vanish as you read, leaving you completely immersed in the world that she’s created. For me, returning to O’Leary’s writing felt like being wrapped in a big hug: familiar, warm, comforting and soothing for the soul. It also lifted my spirits, something I needed when I picked up this book. Another thing I love about her novels is how she takes romantic fiction and transcends the genre, creating stories that explore deeper issues such as PTSD and coercive control. In The No-Show she explores topics such as mental health, self harm, pregnancy loss and grief, weaving these serious issues in amongst the witty, lighthearted moments to create a thought-provoking yet entertaining read.
Absorbing, heartrending and hopeful, The No-Show is a masterpiece that made my heart sing. It is my favourite read this month so far and I have no doubt it will be on my list of top books of the year. It might even be my favourite Beth O’Leary book yet. Believe the hype and go read this book.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Beth O’Leary is a Sunday Times bestselling author whose books have been translated into more than 30 languages.
She wrote her debut novel, The Flatshare, on her train journey to and from her job at a children’s publisher.
She now lives in the Hampshire countryside and writes full time.
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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxx
Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the social media blast.