Thank you to NetGalley for this complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.
Pub Date: October 15, 2019
This is the first novel by Rochelle Weinstein that I’ve read, and I’m still attempting to decide how I feel about it. ‘This Is Not How It Ends’ is the kind of tale that leads the reader to contemplate their own love stories. Haven’t we all latched onto a significant other whom we believed was the perfect fit for us at the time, only to discover that perhaps we’d judged the scenario all wrong? The predicament that Charlotte finds herself in is a love story as old as time- the love triangle. Phillip, the seemingly perfect husband in waiting, has been eclipsed by his dearest friend, Ben. Perhaps most perplexing of all is the fact that Charlotte continuously is pushed in Ben’s direction by her fiancé.
At the start, this is a book that toggles between two time frames, taking the reader through the process of the before and after of locating true love. But what if true love is ignited between someone whom you hadn’t intended to fall in love with? What happens when the man of your dreams turns into precisely that- someone you should only have ever been with in your dreams in the first place? Philip and Charlotte have a whirlwind romance that rapidly leads to her uprooting her entire life to follow him to Florida. She, the quiet and literary English teacher, paired with a man who appears larger than life to those around him. Rarely in the same place for any given length of time, Philip leaves Charlotte to her own devices and her own devices leads her directly to Ben.
Weinstein coaxes the reader into a pregnant pause, into an elongated moment where we ponder the trajectory of our own love lives. What would have happened if we’d stayed with the person whose love morphed into an unrecognizable nightmare? Or, slightly more terrifying, what if we had rocked the boat of fate and left the comfort of complacency for something……stronger? The potential for being truly brilliant, there was something lacking in the delivery of the plot in the first half of the novel that proceeds to dissipate during the second half. Overall, it’s a book I would recommend with the caution that it’s not one of those narratives that hooks you directly from the start. Instead, you must patiently give the novel by Weinstein time to utterly charm you.