Meticulously plotted, fresh and surprising but thrumming with that signature Beth O’Leary warmth we all adore, The No-Show is a dream of a novel from start to finish, even if it is a total enigma until the very end.

As joyful as it is heart-breaking, Beth’s fourth novel tackles some hard-hitting themes, and it’s all the richer for it. In its opening scenes, Joseph Carter – the titular ‘no-show’ – leaves three women jilted on Valentine’s Day but there’s more to this story than meets the eye, with unfolding events out of sequence and a stunning plot twist that’s guaranteed to leave you guessing until the very end. If you like your romantic comedy with a side of mystery, The No-Show is your love language.

We say it every time but *this* is Beth at the top of her game. We said what we said (but will no doubt go back on our word as soon as she writes her next novel). Word of warning: Prepare to be put through your emotional paces. You will need 3-5 working days to recover.

Want to know if The No-Show is worth reading? Keep scrolling for the team’s reviews…

The blurb

Content warnings: self-harm, alcoholism, obsession, stalking, sexual harassment, miscarriage, dementia.

Three women. Three dates. One missing man…

8.52 am Siobhan’s been looking forward to her breakfast date with Joseph. She was surprised when he suggested it – she normally sees him late at night in her hotel room. Breakfast with Joseph on Valentine’s Day surely means something… so where is he?

2.43 pm Miranda’s hoping that a Valentine’s Day lunch with Carter will be the perfect way to celebrate her new job. It’s a fresh start and a sign that her grown-up life is finally falling into place: she’s been dating Carter for five months now and things are getting serious. But why hasn’t he shown up?

6.30 pm Joseph Carter agreed to be Jane’s fake boyfriend at a colleague’s engagement party. They’ve not known each other long but their friendship is fast becoming the brightest part of her new life in Winchester. Joseph promised to save Jane tonight. But he’s not here…

Meet Joseph Carter. That is if you can find him.

Lareese Says…

Beth O’Leary does it again! I’m a HUGE O’Leary fan but I have to admit, I wasn’t convinced she’d be able to trump her last novel, The Road Trip. Lo and behold I was wrong – This. This is O’Leary at her best!

I foolishly read The No Show over the course of a couple of weeks, dipping in and out which was my downfall. For that reason, I felt like it was a bit of a slow burner to begin with, but I put that down to my erratic reading schedule more than the story itself. Initially, I was a bit disenchanted by the long build-up and multiple POVs but I’m not afraid to admit I did a complete 180 on this book and its titular ‘no show’, Joseph Carter. We get to know this womanising cad through three leading ladies Siobhan, Miranda and Jane, all of whom have been standing up on Valentine’s Day. Men, eh. Who’d have ’em?

I won’t elaborate too much on the plot because I would hate to spoil it for anyone but let’s just say there’s more to this story than meets the eye, so sit tight and stick with it. Things really take off and fall into place around the 200-page mark.

The No Show is O’Leary’s savviest book to date (and dare I say her best)Lareese

The No Show is O’Leary’s savviest book to date (and dare I say her best), and although it’s not quite as ‘cosy’ as The Switch, it’s equally as heartwarming and joyful. Kudos to O’Leary for her meticulous plotting too. This is the most satisfying conclusion I’ve read in a long time and a wonderfully original take on the romance novel. My advice? Go into it blindly, and avoid spoilers because when you get to the plot twist you will launch your book across the room. Ladies and Gentlemen, Her!

Rating: 4.5/5
Would you recommend it? It’s a need not a must.

Charlotte says…

BRB SOBBING FOREVER. I devoured The No-Show in record time, powering through its pages despite wanting to save the deliciousness that is a new Beth O’Leary novel for as long as possible. In some ways, it felt a little different to the other books I’ve read from Beth and I can’t put my finger on why, perhaps because of the three-character perspective format and at times not feeling overly drawn to all its protagonists , but regardless it still stands as my favorite book of the year so far!

The best way to go into reading The No-Show is without expectation- although it’s tempting to rush through its chapters and see how each character’s story falls into place, to me its charm was the slow unfolding of each relationship which left me curious and gripped by every small detail. I was totally enthralled by each women’s experiences and relationships with Joseph, and somehow never felt any bad blood towards him despite his mysteriousness and at times emotional unavailability. His big smiles and charming nature melted my heart, similarly to Siobhan, Miranda and Jane (of whom his interactions were my favorite) and despite its sadness, The No-Show made me feel like I was enveloped in the warmest of hugs from start to finish. It certainly wasn’t as steamy as The Road Tripbut the planning and time that must have gone into intertwining the lives of so many ‘real’ feeling characters whilst never once being confusing is a skill I think only Beth possesses!

I read the final few chapters in public and let me just say, this was not a wise choice. Charlotte

I read the final few chapters in public and let me just say, this was not a wise choice unless crying alone with a passionfruit margarita in hand is something you also aspire towards. Consider yourself warned. Once again I’ll be counting down the days to Beth’s next book already, and wondering what I can read to fill the void in the meantime. Recommendations on a postcard, please!

Rating: 5/5- if I could score higher I would!
Would you recommend it? DUH.

Darcey says…

I absolutely ADORD this book. I read The No-Show on my most recent Holiday and spent the entire 5-hour plane journey home finishing this book and let me tell you turbulence was knocking me left, right and center and not even that could stop me from turning those pages!

I loved every female character in this book, but I must admit my heart really did fall for Jane!Darcey

Throughout the book you get to know the three leading ladies Siobhan, Miranda and Jane, I really enjoy a book from the different characters’ perspectives, I find it incredibly interesting as it really speeds up the pace of the book for me. I loved every female character in this book, but I must admit my heart really did fall for Jane, the sweetest character with a lot of self-doubt and worry, I was really rooting for Janey and so the ending (if you’ve read the book) made my heart swell!

Throughout the book you also get to know Joseph Carter, I think I felt every emotion under the sun towards this man ha! I must admit my opinion on him greatly changes about halfway through the book, without giving too much away, the character development of Joseph is actually really quite moving.

I can’t even imagine how long it took Beth to write this book, the skill behind unraveling so many stories at one time and getting that onto paper is remarkable to me, she is so unbelievably talented and her work is such a pleasure to read . This book is 100% worth reading this Summer, if you like romance, drama and a large plot twist that makes you audibly gasp, you’ll love this!

Rating: 5/5 baby!
Would you recommend it?: Absolutely!

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