The Last Chapter
Emma Barton is drowning. A single mother of a son with a genius-level IQ and Autism, she’s given up on love to focus on the child who needs her. Her writing aspirations—the only dream she hasn't abandoned—withers as her latest novel bombs, and she’s dropped by her publisher.
Ethan Wise, an A-list actor, wants an Oscar, but he’d settle for being something other than a romantic comedy lead or a beefcake superhero. Discovering Emma’s novel happened by chance, but it could also be his opportunity to finally become a serious actor.
When Ethan seeks Emma out to buy the movie rights to her novel, they fall so passionately in love their lives are turned upside down.
Emma wants to be with Ethan, but there’s her son to consider and the secrets she’s kept to protect him. She’ll do anything to keep her little boy’s world safe and happy.
She’d even give up the love of her life.
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I was drawn to the description of this book because Emma's son JD has autism. I spent 20 years in the classroom and had several children with autism. I also have several friends who have children with autism. So I already have a soft spot for this book before even beginning it.
The description of Emma's interactions with people at work and at JD's school rang quite true to life from what I have observed of my friends' interactions with people and some of the horror stories I remember from working in the schools. Too many people just do not understand what it is like to deal with someone with autism. So I applaud the author for bringing a lot of real to this story.
I had a hard time in the beginning with the timeline of the story. I understand doing flashbacks to reveal more about the person's past. But there was a lot of overlap even within the present time, which was rather confusing at times. For example. we would be in a chapter from Emma's point of view and she would have an interaction with Ethan. And then in the next chapter, we would go back several hours or days and read Ethan's story leading up to the point that had ended in the previous chapter. And then little bits of the storyline seemed outside the realm of realistic, even for fiction.
But then as Ethan and Emma started to get to know each other, were working on their story and screenplay, and the romance started to develop, I found myself lost in their story. I loved reading about the interactions between Emma and her son and really felt that special bond that only a mother can have with her son with autism. And then watching how Ethan was able to form a relationship with JD was also beautiful to read. That's something rare to find. I really wanted to see them succeed.
I also loved Ethan's grandmother. She is feisty and fun and the kind of person we all could use in our lives.
The only thing I really didn't like about this story was the sheer number of secrets that the two of them kept from each other, especially on Emma's side. It's too hard to have a solid foundation when you're not honest about some really big and important parts of your past. You just hope that they can literally survive as all of the truths come out.
This was a relatively easy read and kept me engrossed. It wasn't like I had to put it down and walk away from it. I applaud the author for baring her soul and putting so much of herself in the story. You can't write those kinds of interactions so authentically unless you have lived them. And while each autism story is a different one, I really felt a lot of truth in these interactions, especially due to my own interactions, as I said, as a teacher and as someone who has many friends whose children have autism. It was a different kind of romance, which was nice for a change.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.