I struggled with this review and rewrote it four times. I went back and forth between 1 and 3 stars and finally in the end just settled on 1 star because this book as a whole was a mess. I think what took the cake is that this book is a really bad mystery/tragedy marketed as a romance novel. Romance readers get yelled at about this all the time, but a romance novel at its core needs to have a happily ever after or a happy for now. I don’t even want to get into any of that because of everything that came before it just made me unable to even be a little bit happy about how this was resolved. I felt like I accidentally picked up a Nicholas Sparks novel and I am not happy about it. I just avoid that man’s books because all of them are just love again after tragedy or hey here’s tragedy, maybe a little bit of romance. I think that O’Leary has shifted her writing/genre a bit since “The Road Trip”. I had a lot of problems with that book as well because in the end I didn’t even think the main couple was in any way in a “happy for now” since the toxicity of the hero’s friend was never really addressed. Someone said this should just get marketed as literary fiction and I agree.
“The No-Show” follows three women: Siobhan, Miranda, and Jane. All three women are stood up on Valentine’s Day by the same man. The book follows the three women as they deal with the ups and downs of dating the elusive Joseph Carter.
Ugh. I can’t even say that I liked any of the female characters. We bounce back and forth between the three women throughout the book and I was pretty well fed up with all of them towards the pivotal twist point of the book (it was around the 80 percent mark). I think I will swing more towards liking Miranda more because I don’t think I ever read a novel with a female character being a tree surgeon. The way that O’Leary writes about it makes me think she did research on what a tree surgeon does. But other than that, I didn’t really mesh with any of these women.
Siobhan was a bit of a mess. She’s a life coach and seems to have a lot of problems with boundaries with her clients. Her relationship with Joseph was very one-sided and I didn’t see the whole she’s really in love with him and hiding from it aspect at all.
Miranda is dating Joseph, but has an annoying coworker who is inappropriate with her and constantly pushing boundaries.
Jane is hiding from something/someone. She had no personality. And she meets and befriends Joseph and they start a book club. I honestly wonder why this was marketed as three women dating the same man because Jane is not dating Joseph. She is tempted by him and wants something more though and they do hang out a lot.
Joseph. I can’t get into without spoilers. I will say this. If you write a romance novel, you have to want to root for all parties. There. That’s said.
The other secondary characters don’t get enough time to shine. I did like Jane’s bosses at the charity shop she was working on. But everyone else started to mesh into one person. I honestly can’t recall Siobhan’s friends names or even Miranda’s sisters.
The writing was fine, but I just thought the book dragged. Following three separate women through the 80 percent point was a lot. And also O’Leary doesn’t really set up enough for me why anyone is in love/dating/obsessed with Joseph. He sounded annoying. I guess because he looked so boyish. But I think that dude blushed every other page and was constantly near tears here and there. And don’t yell at me about men not having emotions. I just honestly at one point wondered if he needed therapy. Things make sense in the end (yes you have to finish the whole book) but at one point I was shaking my head at him.
The flow was awful. I did do a quick skim this morning since certain parts work better now when you understand what is going on, but I still felt a bit deflated.
The ending incorporates COVID-19 into the story-line. I am not surprised though. More romance novels and some of the other contemporary books I have been reading have been including that. I know some romance readers complained about that and said they read romance to escape, so wanted to warn some potential readers. Outside of that though, the ending felt flat and not earned even a little bit.