Review: One Less Problem Without You by Beth Harbison

One Less Problem Without You by Beth Harbison
Published by St Martin’s Press
Released 26th July 2016
384 Pages

Thank you to St Martin’s Press for sending me this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Meet Prinny, Chelsea and Diana. Prinny is the owner of Cosmos, a shop that sells crystals, potions, candles, and hope. It’s also a place where no one turns down a little extra-special cocktail that can work as a romance potion or heal a broken heart. But Prinny is in love with her married lawyer and she’ll need nothing short of magic to forget about him.

Chelsea works as a living statue at tourist sites around Washington, DC. It’s a thankless job, but it helps pay the rent. That, and her part-time job at Cosmos. As her dream of becoming a successful actress starts to seem more remote and the possibility of being a permanently struggling one seems more realistic, Chelsea begins to wonder: at one point do you give up on your dreams? And will love ever be in the cards for her?

Diana Tiesman is married to Leif, a charismatic man who isn’t faithful. But no matter how many times he lets her down, Diana just can’t let him go. She knows the only way she can truly breakaway is if she leaves and goes where he will never think to follow. So she ends up at Cosmos with Leif’s stepsister, where she makes her homemade teas and tinctures as she figures out whether she’d rather be lonely alone than lonely in love.

In Beth Harbison’s One Less Problem Without You, three women suddenly find themselves together at their own very different crossroads. It will take hope, love, strength and a little bit of magic for them to find their way together

Chick Lit with a twist is definitely what I would describe One Less Problem Without You at first glance. I was sold on the pretty cover and how it didn’t give much away and the fact it was by an author I had yet to read. I was really looking forward to reading it and dived straight in.

One Less Problem Without You is the story of three women; Prinny, Diana and Chelsea, who all have one thing in common and that is Leif Tiesman. Lief is Prinny’s stepbrother who since the death of their father has wanted nothing more than to see her and her shop Cosmos suffer. Diana is married to Lief, who is not faithful and hasn’t been for years. However, no matter what he does she can’t let him go. Chelsea is a struggling actress who works part time at Cosmos and also as a living statue. As time goes on her dreams of becoming a successful actress grow further and further apart and she soon wonders if she should give up on her dreams. The three women suddenly find themselves together and start working up ways to live their dreams and add magic to their lives.

As much as I wanted to love this book I’m afraid it fell a bit short for me. It wasn’t really what I expected and I admit I was slightly disappointed. I didn’t like how flashbacks happened right in the middle of the story and it left me feeling slightly confused. Also, there were so many points of view that I found it difficult to keep up. One point of view during a flashback was of a character named Kathy, which we didn’t hear from or about again. So it did seem a bit pointless although I know it was to help us understand our main characters a bit better. There were also some serious issues raised throughout the book that were somewhat overlooked and pushed to one side, which I wasn’t too pleased about. There was for instance a pretty disturbing scene involving date rape and it just seemed like that the specific character tried to brush it under the carpet when something should have been done about it.

Prinny, Diana and Chelsea, although all with different personalities came together as one and in my opinion it really showed what people can do with a little bit of moral support. With Prinny I loved how no matter what setbacks she kept on going and carried on making her store the best. Diana, I’d say was a bit of a tragic heroine you knew the only way she could be free was to start a fresh and I felt like the friendship that blossomed between her and the two others really did help her to do that. I felt quite sorry for Chelsea when reading about her failed dreams and how she lost love. However, I was really pleased when she got her happy ending. Lief, although he was an arse I feel like something must have made him that way and we didn’t really get to delve into his backstory much which maybe would have helped us to understand his character and his mind a lot better.

One Less Problem Without You was an okay read, but it could have been a lot better. I feel that if the plot had been deeper and if some issues hadn’t been brushed aside then maybe I would have liked it a lot more. It is a shame, but I still hope to read some more of Beth Harbison’s work in the future.


Author Bio

Beth Harbison grew up in Potomac, Maryland, in the shadow of Washington, D.C. Apart from the occasional irritation at being held up in traffic by a presidential motorcade, she has remained fairly uninvolved in the politics that define her home town. Her latest novel, One Less Problem Without You, comes out July 26, 2016.

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