cover image One Month of You

One Month of You

Suzanne Ewart. Sourcebooks Landmark, $16.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-72825-712-9

Me Before You meets vintage Lurlene McDaniel in Ewart’s uneven debut. Manchester, England, native Jess has recently adopted nine rules to live by, beginning with “do not fall in love.” This is both to safeguard her own heart and to prevent anyone else from getting hurt; caring for her mother, who has a terminal illness that Jess worries she too will inherit, takes all the time and energy Jess can muster. A one-night stand with handsome bartender Alec provides a much needed release, but Jess is emphatic that she doesn’t want a relationship. Too-good-to-be-true Alec accepts this but suggests a no-strings-attached month of dating, saying Jess deserves “all the good bits of a relationship, even if it can’t last.” They both have secrets that complicate the arrangement, but the biggest obstacle is Jess herself, who harshly rejects every romantic overture Alec makes. While Jess’s stress and fear are understandable, the tenderness of the familial plot contrasts oddly with Jess’s poor treatment of the dishy Alec. Readers are in for a bumpy ride. Agent: Jessica Purdue, Orion Publishing Group. (Feb.)