Sunday, February 23, 2020

Books: "This Won't End Well" By Camille Pagan

This Won't End Well
By Camille Pagan
Lake Union Publishing' hardcover, $24.95; paperback, $14.95; ebook; $3.99; available February 26

Camille Pagan is the Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestselling author of six novels, including her most recent release, I'm Fine and Neither Are You. One of her other acclaimed works, Life and Other Near-Death Experiences, has been optioned for film.

Pagan's new novel, This Won't End Well, is a very witty novel about the risks, as well as the rewards, of opening your life to new people. 

Annie Mercer's vow is simple: no new people. This came after her boss sabotages her chemistry career and her best friend tried to cure her with crystals, and her fiance, Jon, asks for space while he's running around Paris. 

Pagan, in Annie's voice, writes, "It's not that I don't have theories as to why Jon did what he did. His parents' unteemable expectations have weighed heavily on him his entire life. Bad enough that Charles and Carolyn clearly would have preferred a more conventional wife for their beloved eldest son. But when he told them he wasn't planning to produce two perfect children, they must have been besides themselves (though Jon's second thoughts about our having children suggest the guilt may have gotten to him, after all). If he didn't procreate what would ever spur him to finally come to his senses and get a job in finance?

"And yet his flight across the Atlantic was an act of free will. It was entirely his decision to cut off contact while he went and 'found himself,' or whatever new-age excuse he's using as justification for having abandoned me.

"Because that's what he had done, even if he hadn't realized it yet."

Annie's vow of solitude is tested, and ultimately broken, when Harper moves in next door, and Annie can't help but train a watchful eye on the glamorous but fragile young woman. If keeping Harper safe requires teaming up with Mo - a maddeningly optimistic amateur detective - who is she to mind her own business?

It didn't take long for Annie to let two people into her life, and then Jon reappears requesting her presence with him in France. 

Annie is pretty sure that letting anyone get close won't end well, so she has to decide if another shot at happiness is worth the risk.

Pagan puts together her story with a mix of narration from Annie and then emails she has sent and received, making it a very interesting process to put the pieces together.

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