A Story of Friendships- Better Luck Next Time by Julia Claiborne Johnson

Happy Publication Day to Better Luck Next Time! This book is set in 1938 in Reno, Nevada - a state where women could stay for six weeks and obtain a “no questions asked” divorce which was quite unusual in the day. This book describes the relationships formed at the Flying Leap Dude Ranch which hosted many wealthy women who fled to Reno in order to dissolve their marriages.

Told from the perspective of a retired physician, Ward reflects about his time working at the ranch at the age of 24. He particularly recalls two women Nina, a St. Louis heiress and amateur pilot at the ranch to obtain her third divorce, and Emily whose most courageous act to date was to drive herself to the ranch from San Francisco. These two women share a suite at the ranch and they develop a special bond. Not only do their personalities complement one another, but they bring out the best in one another as well. The story also demonstrates the difference in social class, aspirations and gender in 1938 - some of which have not improved much over the past eighty years.

While the book was entertaining, I did not feel connected to these characters. Moreover, I felt the book lacked emotion which was not only disappointing, but a must for me to enjoy a book. Having said that, the stories and antics from the ranch were amusing - just not often enough to keep me fully engaged. I enjoyed the bit of romance in the story, which provided insight into the personalities, and differences, of the characters involved. I recommend this book to those readers who enjoy literary fiction.

I listened to the audiobook version of the book which was narrated by David Aaron Baker who had a good performance. Reminiscent of listening to a cowboy telling stories of his past, I appreciated this quality which brought some authenticity to the book. I listened to the book at my usual 1.25x speed which was perfect for me. I would not hesitate to recommend the audiobook version of the book to those that enjoy this format.

Thanks to Netgalley and Harper audio for the ARC of this audiobook in exchange for the honest review provided here.

My rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️/5.

You can add this book to your Goodreads's shelf here: Better Luck Next Time

28 comments:

  1. It sounds like a book I may pass on though I enjoyed reading your review!

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  2. We like historical fiction. Take a unique place at a point in time and insert your own characters or spice up the story for a modern audience.

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  3. Sounds like an interesting book! Thanks for sharing your honest opinion on this!

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  4. Great review! It's a shame that you were disappointed by the lack of emotion. I haven't listened to audio books before but I might try it out as it sounds like a good idea! Thank you for sharing this!

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  5. I love honest reviews! This actually made me want to check out the book for myself. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you! That’s great that you want to check out the book! Let me know your thoughts if you do!

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  6. It's a shame the book lacked emotion, hearing the stories and antics of what the women got up to does sound amusing though! Great review, thank you for sharing! x

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  7. Ah, it's a shame you didn't enjoy it but I do appreciate an honest review, thank you :)

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    1. Thanks Lisa! I was entertained by the book and I certainly recommend others give it a go if it appeals to them!

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  8. Aw! It always sucks not being connected to the characters. I always feel satisfied after connecting with a good book! Hopefully your next read will be wonderful! xo

    www.lynnmumbingmejia.com

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  9. Shame it wasn't a 5-star read! Definitely sounds like the kind of book I would listen to over reading. Great review!

    Anika | chaptersofmay.com

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  10. Ah, well, sometimes books is not as good as it needed to be. Thank you for the honest review. I haven't listened to many books but when I did, it was fun to enjoy the stories and books on the go.

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  11. This sounds like it reads like a documented account of these events, perhaps, rather than a story? I often enjoy a plainer narrative of an engaging tale, if done well. I enjoy historical fiction and will check this book out!

    Thanks for sharing. :)

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    1. Thanks Jaya! It does read more like a documented account of an older man reflecting on his experience at the range.

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  12. Really great review! This sounds like a really good book, it's a shame about the lack of emotion though because it sees like the sort of book which needs it to help move the story along.

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  13. Feeling that special connection with the character(s) can help make a story so much more.

    I enjoyed your review of the story though👌🏽

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  14. Although I won't read the book your review has just thrown me down a rabbit hole about no refusal divorces!

    Thank you for that!

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