I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
Published: April 2022
Three women. Three dates. One missing man…
8.52. Siobhan’s been 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 with Joseph on Valentine’s Day surely means something … so where is he?
14.43. 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 grown-up life is finally falling into place: she’s been dating Carter for five months now and things are getting serious. But why hasn’t he shown up?
18.30. Joseph Carter agreed to be Jane’s fake boyfriend at a colleague’s 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.
I went into this book expecting another rom-com-style story about a two-timing guy, a serial cheater of sorts and had fully built in my head a John Tucker Must Die kind of plot flowing from that (I know, weird). But! Knowing Beth O’Leary after having thoroughly enjoyed The Flatshare, I should have guessed it just could not be that simple.
It’s tough to review this book without spoilers, so I’ll already apologise if everything I say sounds super-vague but I really don’t want to risk giving anything away since the way the story developed was definitely a key factor in my enjoyment of this. This is one of those stories where it’s best to go in blind, but just be mindful that there is some heavy content and it’s not a super fluffy and light-hearted read. For me, it was definitely heart-warming and heart-breaking at the same time, which really shows the author’s talent!
The three main characters are amazing women, each in her own way and with her own flaws. I loved how their individual voices came through in the multiple POVs and they really sounded like different people. To varying degrees, I grew to care about all of them and I loved following along for a part of their journey.
Despite this, at times I felt as though they weren’t 100% fleshed out as characters: maybe it’s because of the need to juggle three main characters and a full cast of secondary characters, but there were points in the novel where the three women definitely felt like characters instead of real people, boxed in their key distinguishing traits and not moving away from them. This didn’t happen all the time, but it was often enough that it took something away from me in the enjoyment of this.
Their relationships with Joseph were also annoying at times. Yes, he’s charming but he also doesn’t always behave fairly towards them and all three women certainly put up with a lot of stuff without questions. Much is explained by the end, going a lot way towards his redemption in my eyes, but it was not enough to justify some of his behaviour.
I loved the experience of reading this book, as the writing fully drew me in. The beginning and end had me rushing through, but I felt some steam was lost towards the middle, which bored me slightly. Still, powering through it was certainly worth it to get to the ending! Some of the side plots were also brilliant and definitely added to my enjoyment.
The No-Show is a very clever book that is likely to appeal to anyone who likes a good romance with depth in plot and themes tackled. There is plenty going on just underneath the surface, and it was a delight to get to it.