If you’re looking for a story that is funny, poignant, surprising and full of heart, you’ve come to the right place. Beth O’Leary’s “The No-Show” follows three women – Siobhan, Miranda and Jane through a year of their lives. These three women may not know each other, but they all have one thing in common – they have all been stood up by the same man, on the same day (which just happens to be Valentine’s Day), where our story begins. Some know him as Joseph, others as Carter. For the purposes of this review, he shall be known as Joseph/Carter. Joseph/Carter misses all three of his plans with these women, and all three find it in their hearts to forgive him. The novel is written from the women’s perspectives, and as we learn about them and their history, we learn more about this man that all three women can’t seem to stay mad at.
The story is set in the UK, primarily in London. Siobhan works as a life coach for a variety of clients, including the cunning and questionable Richard. Miranda is a tree-surgeon who is used to being with the guys all day, and tries to fight off flirty AJ. Jane volunteers at a charity shop and has a hidden past she doesn’t talk about – she follows her routines to the T to stay stable. Joseph/Carter is kind, caring and generally sweet to all of these women. His relationship with each of these women is different – he and Siobhan have a casual, physical relationship. Miranda is his girlfriend, and Jane is a friend he made at a local bakery who asked him to be her fake boyfriend at an event. While not “technically” dating all three women, he clearly has feelings for all of them.
As I continued to read this novel, I hoped there would be some type of redemption for Joseph/Carter. He couldn’t really be seeing all three of these women at the same time, could he? He seems to genuinely care about each one over the course of the novel, and I hoped I wasn’t being duped the same way the women were. Boy, was this guy good! Not only were the fictional women’s feelings for him growing, but mine were too! I felt like another woman in Joseph/Carter’s story, being smitten by his charm and charisma. While I won’t share whether Joseph/Carter turns out to be a redeemable man or not (this is, of course, a spoiler-free review), I will say that this novel had a few plot twists I was not expecting.
I thought I knew where this story might be headed, but O’Leary made some twists and turns that I thoroughly enjoyed! The last quarter of the novel had be gasping with surprise, smiling with happiness, and even tearing up at times. While Joseph/Carter is a main point in all of their stories, this novel is about the women. They each grow immensely over the course of the year, learning things about themselves and gaining confidence as they become more self-assured. I loved reading about each of these women taking charge of their lives and going after what they want and what they deserve. If you’re looking for something with heart, check out Beth O’Leary’s “The No-Show” today!