I had to sit with this one for a while. I enjoy Therese Beharrie’s writing so much, but the structure of One Last Chance was a struggle for me at first. By the end of the book I was genuinely in love with it.
One Last Chance is the final book in Beharrie’s One Day to Forever series about the Roux sisters. I have only read the last two books, and I think they are pretty stand alone. After a long illness, their father has died which sends each of the sisters into their own sort of tailspin. Beharrie does a wonderful job of exploring the lingering impact of grief and the way people handle it differently.
Zoey Roux is the baby of the family and she saw her role as the happy, impulsive sister. In an attempt to avoid her feelings right after her father’s death, she jumped into a marriage with her best friend Sawyer, who has his own grief issues, having been orphaned young. Zoey left Sawyer after three months, but the pair never divorced. Six years later, Zoey has grown and matured and asks Sawyer for a divorce. Over the course of a day in which they are forced together several times, they talk through their marriage, why she left, and how they feel about each other. Inter cut with the day are events from their past.
Initially, I was frustrated with the flashbacks. As I read, I saw what Beharrie was doing – showing how two good people could hurt each other without either being a bad guy. The difficulty with second chance romances and marriage in trouble romances is illustrating a conflict significant enough to separate the characters and showing the growth that makes a Happily Ever After believable. To give nuance and depth to the conflict between Zoey and Sawyer, Beharrie needed to show those moments that led to their marriage and their separation and I needed to see the years long connection between them to believe that asking for a divorce after a 6 year separation would be painful. The whole story woven together is a lovely and redemptive look at grief and the importance of letting ourselves and others feel our feeling.
If you haven’t read Therese Beharrie yet, I strongly encourage you to do so. In One Day to Fall and One Last Chance, Beharrie sends you on a roller coaster ride with women who are very much themselves and the men who love them for it.