Typewriter by Dustin Lee on Unsplash: Where There's a Will by Beth Corby (The Modest Reader)

Book Review: Where There’s a Will

I’m a sucker for stories where the protagonist has to follow a series of tasks to get to a big reveal. And when it’s after someone’s death (à la P.S. I Love You or 13 Little Blue Envelopes), I usually know I’m going to get a thrill out of it. When There’s A Will by Beth Corby is in the same sort of format as the two mentioned above, and if you enjoy the genre, I recommend you pick this one up on May 30 when it hits stores. The characters in this story are fascinating, and you’ll never guess how all the people in Great Uncle Donald’s life came to get to know each other. I promise.

Synopsis
Would you take the chance that could change everything?

After leaving university at the age of twenty-five with no idea what to do with her life, Hannah is stunned when she is left a mystery bequest by her rich, estranged great-uncle Donald.

But there’s a catch: Before she can find out what she’s inherited, she must undertake a series of unknown tasks alongside Alec, Donald’s reluctant (but rather gorgeous) PA.

As the tasks progress and she and Alec grow closer, Hannah begins to think that Donald’s real gift might have more to do with love than money…

My musings
There’s just something about this book that got me hooked. It was one of those situations where I was just over halfway through before I went to bed, and I was so drawn into the story that I didn’t put it down until it was finished (and only a few hours left before I had to be up for the day). That doesn’t happen to me often anymore.

I liked Hannah’s character. I liked her dynamic with Alec, too. They were both skeptical of the other in a believable way, and their story progressed at what I thought was a nice pace. Hannah’s family, however, is a little too mean to be plausible. There was no real reason for her to be the outcast (okay, so she’s 25 and hasn’t quite found a job that she likes yet—when I was 25, I had a lot of friends in the same boat), and there was no reason for them to be as invested in the will as they were… they barely knew the guy, and they were all pretty well off, from what I could tell.

I think I was mostly interested in Great Uncle Donald’s story. He was an interesting man with a very complicated past, and we only got to discover it piece by piece with Hannah. I wanted to know everything there was to know about how all the pieces fit together, and I could only do that by powering through the chapters (and the tasks) one by one. There were many twists and reveals that I didn’t see coming—I love when a book’s plot surprises me!—and although some of the reveals were a little bit anticlimactic (Mrs. Jennings’s secret, for one), I still appreciate that the story made sense as a whole.

The book embraces its quirks, which I love. And although the whole “I leave you letters after my death to help you find your way” trope is not new, because Donald was such a fascinating character, it felt refreshing.

4.5 STARS

Where There's a Will...Can Love Find a Way? by Beth Corby (Book Cover): The Modest Reader

“How did we end up at this point? I didn’t even like him a few days ago. He’s been rude and condescending, judgemental and superior—not to mention downright insulting. How can I even be interested?” —Beth Corby, Where There’s a Will

Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the advanced copy, and to Dustin Lee on Unsplash for the featured photo of the typewriter setup.

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