Until Next Weekend - Rachel Marks

Noah loves Kate, but in six weeks, Kate is marrying Jerry. Determined to prove that she's making a terrible decision, Noah enlists the help of a confident barmaid and sets out on a mission to win back his ex-wife and show her he can be the man of her dreams again.

Thank you to Chrissie Antoniou at Michael Joseph and Rachel Marks for letting me be a part of this blog tour! Marks' approach to dealing with divorce and an ex-partner moving on is raw, emotional but full of hope. 'Until Next Weekend' published 29th April 2021 and is available at all good booksellers! You can use this link to order through Bookshop: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/2505/9781405940092

Noah wasn't initially a favourable character, the entire novel is about his progression into a respectable father, friend and partner, Marks writes him as a rundown 'Weekend Dad' with selfish instincts which ensured he wasn't a character we necessarily root for. Gradually, he began to grow on me and with the realisation that he isn't the down-and-out man he thinks he is, his attitude and personality naturally shifted into something more admirable. Marks doesn't make an immediate change to him, but does it slowly by building up his acceptance of help and affection from others. Originally, I was frustrated with him as he didn't respect anyone else's wishes and thought by doing one or two good things as a husband/father he somehow deserved forgiveness for his misdoings. However, I loved the final chapters where he actively makes the effort to allow others to make their own choices despite his feelings.

Rarely do you see a novel with strong characterisation of side characters, but it really stood out to me in this! Every character we come across have a personality that easily comes through the pages into our minds and as a reader we are pulled into rooting for them alongside Noah. Notably, I loved all the children in the novel. They felt natural and easy to read, nothing felt forced or unrealistic, and even with the plot focusing mainly on Noah and his self-improvement, each scene with the children was clear and important as the rest of the narrative.

Overall, this felt like a heartfelt attempt at showing the reader the struggles and triumphs involved in moving on, whether it be from a relationship, trauma or addiction. Whilst it is never mentioned explicitly it is clear that Noah dealt with an alcohol addiction and turned to it when trying to numb his feelings. Marks doesn't approach it with full force but lets it simmer in the background whilst Noah recognised his need to drink and realisation he didn't need to. I really wished that I'd felt more connected with the novel, it spoke loudly in terms of finding yourself in times of stress but I felt it difficult to connect with Noah until the last 15% of the narrative and was rooting more for the side-characters than him. It was a feel-good read, the ending was satisfying and I felt relieved that it ended well for everyone, but I couldn't bring myself to love it.

Did I like it? Most definitely. If you want to feel a little better about the world and know that there is greener grass once we let go of our worries this is the book for you. A worthy place on the bookcase can be filled by this wonderful read.

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