This is Not How it Ends,
by Rochelle B. Weinstein
Publication: Lake Union; October 15, 2019
About the book:
From USA Today bestselling author Rochelle B. Weinstein comes a moving novel of hearts lost and found, and of one woman torn between two love stories.
When Charlotte and Philip meet, the pair form a deep and instant connection. Soon they’re settled in the Florida Keys with plans to marry. But just as they should be getting closer, Charlotte feels Philip slipping away.
Second-guessing their love is something Charlotte never imagined, but with Philip’s excessive absences, she finds herself yearning for more. When she meets Ben, she ignores the pull, but the supportive single dad is there for her in ways she never knew she desired. Soon Charlotte finds herself torn between the love she thought she wanted and the one she knows she needs.
As a hurricane passes through Islamorada, stunning revelations challenge Charlotte’s loyalties and upend her life. Forced to reexamine the choices she’s made, and has yet to make, Charlotte embarks on an emotional journey of friendship, love, and sacrifice—knowing that forgiveness is a gift, and the best-laid plans can change in a heartbeat.
This Is Not How It Ends is a tender, moving story of heartbreak and healing that asks the question: Which takes more courage—holding on or letting go?
It’s been a while since I ugly cried while reading a book. To be more precise, it would have been in January or February when I finished beta-reading Kelly Moore’s Gypsy. So, I was surprised that things took such a gut-wrenching turn when I started reading This is Not How it Ends!
First of all, as a lover of all things related to the Florida Keys, I loved the setting of this novel. Secondly, as a borderline stalkerish dog-lover, I loved the prominent role that Charlotte’s dog, Sunny, played in the novel. And of course, I love all things involving funny, charming, good-looking men – a.k.a. Phillip. So this was looking to be the perfect read for me. But then, good Lord, things got sad so fast!
I won’t even hint about the overall premise of the novel, but here’s what I can say for certain. This novel is an absolute gem about love, friendship, what we think we want, and what we realize we need. As much as I loved this novel, I’m not going to sugar-coat things and pretend that Charlotte was the most amazing heroine ever because she wasn’t. She relied on Phillip and his presence as indicators of her happiness. I was this close to loving her character, but as I read and when I reflected on everything afterward, I realized that she put too much ownership of her own happiness into a man’s hands.
I wasn’t sure about Phillip in the beginning, but ended up completely in love with him in the ending – but I will not say why.
Then there was Ben and his son Jimmy….I will shamelessly admit that I was in love with this man within a paragraph or two of him being introduced into the novel. His charisma, charm, subtle shyness, and his relationship with his son just did it for me.
This is Not How How it Ends was a very emotional read on several levels. Weinstein touches on parents separating and leaving, sudden, accidental death, prolonged death to illness, romance, love, infidelity, shame, remorse – and anything else you could possibly imagine. But, it’s a damned good book. I was hooked after a chapter or two, then I was obsessed with finishing it, and then I was blubbering like an idiot and cursing the author’s name.
I regret that I never connected with Charlotte and I regret that I never really cared to connect with her. However, the rest of the novel made up for that issue, and I highly recommend this one.
*Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review.