Review: This Is Not How It Ends by Rochelle B. Weinstein

by Heather Caliendo
this is not how it ends review - book club chat

Editorial note: I received a copy of This Is Now How It Ends in exchange for a review.

This Is Now How It Ends by Rochelle B. Weinstein is a beautifully-written and heartfelt novel that will stick with you.

Contemporary fiction written by women authors (aka women’s fiction) are my favorite stories. They have been ever since I became a reader and they always will be. These are the kind of stories that will make you laugh, cry and pack an emotional punch. Through following the protagonist’s journey, it does cause one to reflect and truly makes you think.

This Is Now How It Ends is definitely one of those stories. I started it on a Sunday night and could not put it down and then when I finished, kept thinking about the story. The characters are real and flawed. You might not always agree with their choices but you’ll empathize as more and more gets revealed throughout the story.

The story

Charlotte and Philip develop a deep and instant connection. Soon they’re settled in the Florida Keys with plans to marry. But just as they should be getting closer, Charlotte feels Philip slipping away.

Second-guessing their love is something Charlotte never imagined, but with Philip’s excessive absences, she finds herself yearning for more. When she meets Ben, she ignores the pull, but the supportive single dad is there for her in ways she never knew she desired. Soon Charlotte finds herself torn between the love she thought she wanted and the one she knows she needs.

As a hurricane passes through Islamorada, stunning revelations challenge Charlotte’s loyalties and upend her life. Forced to reexamine the choices she’s made, and has yet to make, Charlotte embarks on an emotional journey of friendship, love, and sacrifice—knowing that forgiveness is a gift, and the best-laid plans can change in a heartbeat.

Charlotte’s journey

A good portion of the story is told through the present with Charlotte’s loneliness and connecting with Ben—and then, with the past when Charlotte and Phillip are in happier times. I personally really enjoy first-person perspective. I feel that you really get to know the protagonist journey on a much deeper level. Without first-person, I don’t think there would be as much character development in these kinds of stories. When there is a romance as well, it helps being a little in the dark of how the other person feels—it adds much more tension and intrigue.

Charlotte seems to have it all—a nice house in the Florida Keys and a loving husband. But he’s gone more often than not because of work trips and so she’s lonely. After losing her mother, Phillip is all she has and he’s never there. And because Charlotte and Phillip are constantly apart—there’s an even bigger distance that develops, which might push her away.

I think loneliness can be overlooked as a true authentic emotion. Just because someone seems to have it altogether, if they feel alone—the rest of it doesn’t really matter.

Two love stories

There are two love stories in this novel and they will tug at your heart strings. You probably have an idea from the synopsis but it will surprise you how it all unfolds. I don’t want to give too much away but I really liked how the author handled the romance—it felt so authentic, messy and captivating. It’s so good!

But with love there is also the loss of loved ones so there’s quite a bit of heartbreak too.

Final review thoughts: a thought-provoking novel about love and forgiveness—while it’s a complete story, you won’t want it to end.

Check out my book club questions here.

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