cover image Last Call at the Local

Last Call at the Local

Sarah Grunder Ruiz. Berkley, $17 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-54906-3

Ruiz (Luck and Last Resorts) shines in this moving and adorable tale of neurodivergent love in a cozy Irish town. American med school dropout Raine Hart is busking her way through Europe as a musician when, in quaint Cobh, Ireland, all of her equipment is stolen, including the cherished guitar given to her by her late grandfather. She stumbles into a pub, the Local, where she meets hunky Irishman Jack Dunne. Not knowing that Jack co-owns the place with his brother, Ollie, Raine rants to him about its unrealized potential—and Jack is taken with her vision of all the bar could be. Chemistry sparks as Jack hires Raine to help revamp the pub, but Jack is worried that Raine won’t be able to handle his OCD, having been burned before. Raine is equally uncertain about how her ADHD will effect their budding relationship. Ruiz handles her characters’ intrusive thoughts and exaggerated fears with uncommon grace and sensitivity and makes it clear throughout that, despite their anxieties, these two are perfect for each other. Supporting characters—particularly haughty feline Sebastian, grumpy bartender Ollie, and Ollie’s free-spirited wife, Nina—add humor and charm. The touching happily-ever-after for these heart-stealing characters is a delight. Agent: Wendy Sherman, Wendy Sherman Assoc. (Jan.)