Date Published: June 2019
Publisher: Riverpoint Press
Laura Beckman’s comfortable suburban life would be perfect but for her daughter. Four years earlier, Brooke abandoned her husband and her own young daughter to run off with a musician. Now back home with her tail between her legs, Brooke’s self-loathing boils over in the face of her mother’s unrelenting condemnation.
Laura’s world is turned upside down after witnessing the long, painful death of her husband. In the search for a better version of herself, she creates the Chocolate Shop which grants terminally ill patients one last wish (e.g returning to the Rockette stage, having sex one last time, even skydiving). Laura then lovingly helps her clients slip away to a peaceful death. Laura must dodge the police who suspect she's committing second-degree murder, and an ex-wife of a client consumed with collecting on an insurance policy. Her relationship with her daughter flips as Brooke becomes the one doing the condemning: “I may have made many mistakes in my life but there’s one thing I can say. I never murdered anybody.”
As Laura comes to grips with the ethical, moral, and legal dimensions of what she's doing, she worries that her strained relationship with her daughter will never be repaired and wonders whether she can ever find love again. She meets Arlo Massey--brash, flamboyant, someone who couldn't care less about what other people think--the complete opposite of the always appropriate Laura Beckman. Arlo disrupts Laura's already tumultuous life. She finds him despicable.
And yet . . .
My review: Laura “wondered why God would spare the evil people of the world—serial killers and terrorists and child molesters—while the good man lying next to her faced certain death.” (10) The “Big C” had claimed the man she loved. It hurt to see him wither away as time dragged on, but what hurt even more was him begging her to end his life.
One flick of that “magic switch” and it would be all over.
From that moment on, Laura swore that she would go on her own terms.
The writing was thought-provoking, lovely, and lyrical. Story kept a steady lag, but it stayed enriched with wholesome words of wisdom. There may have been a few too many characters coming in and out of the story. I was intrigued by the story, but I wasn’t overly compelled.
Overall, this was a well-rounded tale of life and death that would make readers think.
My rating: 3.5 stars
About the Author
J. J. Spring is a pseudonym for a successful author who writes in another genre. J. J. lives in Florida with a spouse and a rambunctious poodle named Handsome Jack.