Review of THE LAST TO SEE HER by Courtney Evan Tate

I’m delighted to be part of the winter blog tour for this riveting book.

This book was easy to read, even with multiple narrators and multiple timelines. Gen is a romance author who is going through a divorce after she discovers that her husband cheated on her. When her physician sister Meg invites her to come along on a trip to NYC, Gen readily agrees. That is where Gen disappears and that is the central theme of the book. What happened to Gen? The multiple narrators did not bother me, nor did the timeline that kept going back to “then” when Gen was happily married and “now” when she is missing. What really bothered me was that the characters lacked depth and the plot fell flat, too. There needed to be more background given about the characters in order to create more empathy for them. The storyline was good at first, but there seemed to be a lot of repetition and when the author revealed secrets about Thad’s affair and also what actually happened to Gen, way before the end of the novel, I kept waiting for suspense to continue to build but it didn’t. The characters were not particularly likable, except for maybe Joe, Meg’s husband, who was a minor character in the whole scheme of things. And although there was some kind of police procedural included with Detective Hawkins seemed easily led along, not really following clues and not really doing a lot of detecting. Also, part of the story here was totally unbelievable as he seems to befriend Meg in the middle of his investigation and even flies to Chicago with her to check out Gen’s apartment. I would categorize this book as a domestic drama with some suspense thrown in. There were some extra secrets revealed at the end, so that earned the four stars for me. Fans of thrillers and suspense would probably be disappointed with this book, but those who enjoy drama with a little suspense will enjoy it.
Disclaimer
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Mira via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

This book is intense and includes extra-marital affairs and some violence. I would rate it for adult audiences.


Courtney Evan Tate is the nom de plume (and darker side) of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Courtney Cole. As Courtney Evan Tate, she is the author of Such Dark Things and I’ll Be Watching You. Courtney grew up in rural Kansas and now lives with her husband and kids in Florida, where spends her days dreaming of new characters and storylines and surprising plot twists and writing them beneath rustling palm trees. Visit her on Facebook or at courtneycolewriters.com

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Excerpt:

1

Genevieve tipped the courier and set the certified letter on the coffee table.

She knew what it was. She’d been waiting for it for almost a week.

Every day, she’d wondered, Will it be today?

And each day it wasn’t.

Until today.

Nervous energy buzzed through her fingers and toes, tingling through her veins, like ants scurrying in a thousand directions. She paced for a minute, stopping at the floor-to-ceiling windows, staring at the magnificent cityscape lining the horizon. Buildings burst through the hazy pollution, their tips scraping the clouds.

People far below her were bustling here and there, quick to walk, slow to linger. They had things to do, places to be, and she didn’t.

Not anymore.

She ripped open the envelope, pulling the banded documents out, scanning through the words, hunting for the official stamps and signatures that declared this an official act of the court.

They were all there.

This was real.

It was finally happening.

She focused her gaze on the words before her.

Honestly, they were simple.

The black-and-whiteness of them was stark and startling. There were no gray areas, no areas open to interpretation.

They reduced the last ten years of her life into a handful of legal phrases and technical terms. Incompatible differences associated with adultery, marriage dissolution and absolute divorce.

She stared at the words.

Soon, she would be absolutely divorced. She just had to sign the papers.

It had only taken six months of her life to iron out the details. To separate all of their worldly possessions into two camps, his and hers, to figure out who got what. Divorcing a lawyer was the only thing worse than being married to one. No matter that he was the one in err, because he repeatedly fucked someone else, he was out for blood and it took months to sort it all out.

But thank God no children were involved.

That’s what people kept saying, like it was a good thing or a blessing.

But if she’d had a child, she wouldn’t be all alone, and someone would still love her.

She felt like she was floundering. For so long, she’d put all of her energy into a man who hadn’t deemed her worthy to stay faithful to. That had done something to her self-confidence. Something terrible. It wounded her in places she hadn’t known she had, and now she had to figure out who she was without him.

She wasn’t Genevieve Tibault anymore, one half of a whole. She was Genevieve McCready again, and what was Genevieve McCready going to do now, now that she had to stand alone?

She pushed herself off the couch and ran water in her coffee cup. It was a habit Thad had taught her. He hated it when the cups developed coffee rings. She stared at the running water, and then set her cup down.

She didn’t have to do what he wanted anymore. If she wanted coffee rings or tea rings or any kind of fucking rings, she could have them.

It was an epiphany.

She was her own person again. It had been so long since she was a me instead of a we.

She looked around, at the condo she had fought so hard for…the marble floors that they couldn’t agree on—she’d wanted slate, he’d wanted marble—at the modern light fixtures that he’d gotten his way on, at even the tan wall colors. She’d wanted gray.

Why had she even wanted this place?

It was all Thad, and none of Genevieve.

A sense of exuberance, a strange jubilation, welled up in her as she searched online for a realtor and then dialed the phone.

Bubbles of excitement swelled in her belly as she arranged a time for the realtor to come see the place.

And then again, as she stared at a map.

Unlike Thad, someone who had spent years building up his legal practice and honing his networking skills in this one city, she could work from anywhere.

She wrote novels. 

She could work in Antarctica if she wanted to.

She didn’t want to, but she could.

She already had a plan. She knew where she was going, and what she was doing. She just had to have the courage to do it.

She picked up the phone and called her only sister, Meghan.

“Meg, I’m moving home.”

Her sister paused. “Home as in…?”

“Cedarburg.” There was a long pregnant pause now.

“Um. Why would you want to move back to Wisconsin? You haven’t lived there in…”

“In eighteen years. Since I left for college. Yes.”

“But…why?”

“I don’t know,” Gen said honestly. “I just feel a need to get back to my roots. I love Chicago, but the traffic and the noise…” She stared out from her twentieth floor windows again. Even from up here, even though the vehicles looked like Matchbox cars, she could still hear the honking. “This feels like Thad. I want to feel like me.”

“There’s nothing there,” Meg said carefully. “Nothing but fields and cold and—”

“And friendly people,” Gen interrupted. “And our parents, and familiarity, and open spaces, and distance from Thad.”

“But I won’t be there,” Meg reminded her gently. “I’m not moving back. I think you need to be near me, Gen. You need a support system. Divorce is no joke.”

“I know that,” Gen said patiently. “I’m the one living it. You’re still with your Prince Charming and point five children living the American Dream, and I’m the one sitting in an empty condo.”

She fought to keep the bitterness out of her voice, as she compared Meg’s bustling, messy home to her own stark and empty condo in her mind’s eye. 

“I’ll tell Joey that you’re counting him as a point five,” Meg chuckled.

“Well, he’s only five, so it’s fitting. I mean, honestly. He’s not a whole person yet.”

They laughed again, and then Meg sobered up.

“Is this really something you want to do?”

Gen nodded. “Yeah. I think so.”

Meg took a big breath. “Well, let’s do it, then. I’ll help you with your condo, and finding a moving company, and looking online for a house there, and hell’s bells, we’ve got a lot to do!”

“You don’t have to help with all that…” Gen trailed off, but Meg interrupted with their life-long pact.

“Sisters forever,” she decreed. They’d used that pact since they were kids. Whenever one didn’t want to do something, the other would remind them “sisters forever,” and they would concede.

Gen realized she wasn’t going to get away with not letting Meg get her hands in all the new plans.

“Sisters forever,” she agreed.

“But first, you promised to go to my convention with me,” Meg reminded her.

Gen hesitated.

“Don’t tell me you forgot. New York City? Spa days, shopping—you need a new wardrobe, sis—and nights on the town. You promised.”

Gen paused again, and Meghan cajoled, “Pleassssse. We need this. You need this. It can be your divorce party.”

“Okay,” Gen found herself saying. “Fine. I’ll still come.”

Her sister squealed and Gen hung up before Meg could get too excited. She was moving away from everything she’d known for over a decade. Even though the world seemed unsettled and uncertain, for the first time in at least five years, she felt at peace.

Excerpted from The Last to See Her by Courtney Evan Tate, Copyright © 2020 by

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