The Last Post,
by Renée Carlino
Publication: Atria Books; August 20, 2019
About the book:
“See you on the other side.”
Laya Marston’s husband, Cameron, a daredevil enthusiast, always said this before heading off on his next adventure. He was the complete opposite of her, ready and willing to dive off a cliff-face, or parachute across a canyon—and Laya loved him for it. But she was different: pragmatic, regimented, devoted to her career and to supporting Cameron from the sidelines of his death-defying feats.
Opposites attract, right?
But when Cameron dies suddenly and tragically, all the stages of grief go out the window. Laya becomes lost in denial, living in the delusion that Cameron will come back to her. She begins posting on his Facebook page, reminiscing about their life together, and imagining new adventures for the two of them.
Micah Evans, a young and handsome architect at Laya’s father’s firm, is also stuck––paralyzed by the banal details of his career, his friendships, and his love life. He doesn’t know what he’s looking for, only that there is someone out there who can bring energy and spirit to the humdrum of his life.
When Micah discovers Laya’s tragic and bizarre Facebook posts, he’s determined to show Laya her life is still worth living. Leaving her anonymous gifts and notes, trying to recreate the sense of adventure she once shared with her late husband, Micah finds a new passion for watching Laya come out of the darkness. And Laya finds new joy in the experiences Micah has created for her.
But for Laya, letting another man in still feels like a betrayal to her late husband. Even though Micah may be everything she could wish for, she wonders if she deserves to find happiness again.
I spotted The Last Post on NetGalley a while back and although I have never read Renée Carlino, I found the description interesting and decided to check it out. Having now read it, I’ve never had such conflicted feelings over a novel! Having never experienced the death of a spouse, I truly have no idea how I would react if in Laya’s situation. She loses her husband Cameron suddenly in an unexpected accident and basically just shuts down. The only exception is that she busies herself with writing Facebook posts to Cameron, as well as, calling and leaving him voicemail messages. The issue with her Facebook posts is that the people in her life are worried sick because she writes them as is Cameron is still alive.
Micah works for Laya’s father and is sort of odd and depressed himself. Unlike Laya who just decided to give up on becoming a surgeon, Micah works (for the most part), but also becomes immediately smitten, fascinated, and basically obsessed with Laya as soon as he meets her. Thus begins a very bizarre, drawn-out, back-and-forth, and sometimes romantic relationship between Micah and Laya.
What did I love about this novel? I truly enjoyed Carlino’s writing style and especially her character development. I felt as if I knew Micah and Laya intimately down to their appearance, emotions, and at times – odor. Also, I couldn’t help but feel all emotional and mushy-gushy at times when it came to Micah’s feelings and commitment to Laya. Did I think he was crazy for putting up with her issues? At times, yes. But I also couldn’t help but see the beauty and romance as Micah patiently waited and hoped for Laya to move on from her long-term pouting. And yes, I said pouting because she was not exactly a nice person for about 90% of the novel as if she was the only person on earth to lose a loved one. But anyway, another thing I liked was the banter between Micah and his twin sister which was absolutely hilarious, raw, real, and fantastic. His sister turned for awhile which truly upset me and made me wonder, “why can’t there be one character in this book that is likable for the majority of the time??” Luckily, it was short-lived and she returned to being her normal, witty self.
Something else I absolutely adored – the cover!
So, my main issue with The Last Post was Laya. Out of probably 200 books I’ve read this year, I don’t recall disliking a character so much. Yes, I applauded the author’s character development earlier but that is because I am hoping that she meant to make her that unlikeable. If that wasn’t the intention, I feel that may have been a bit harsh, however, I couldn’t get past how self-absorbed and immature that she was. No one was worthy of her time or being in her presence, she used Micah over and over again, she pushed him away when she was done with him, and was a complete spoiled and insensitive brat with her father.
Why did I finish this one? Because I loved the idea of it. I loved the idea of Micah getting a happily ever after. And I also was hoping and praying that Laya would come to realize that she wasn’t the only human on earth. By the end, I can say Micah seemed to find a HEA, but Laya’s progress was minimal.
*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review.