Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: October 18th, 2016
Synopsis: Is there a right way to die? If so, Joanna DeAngelis has it all wrong. She’s consumed by betrayal, spending her numbered days obsessing over Ned McGowan, her much younger ex, and watching him thrive in the spotlight with someone new, while she wastes away. She’s every woman scorned, fascinating about revenge…except she’s out of time.
Joanna falls from her life, from the love of her daughters and devoted dog, into an otherworldly landscape, a bleak infinity she can’t escape until she rises up and returns and sets it right–makes Ned pay–so she can truly move on.
From the other side into right this minute, Jo embarks on a sexy, spiritual odyssey. As she travels beyond memory, beyond desire, she is transformed into a fierce female force of life, determined to know how to die, happily ever after.
I have to be honest and admit this was an impulse request from NetGalley. From the synopsis I wasn’t even sure if I was going to like Joanna, but the story sounded very different and quirky, so I went for it. Much to my surprise, I really liked her. Joanna’s pain and anger just radiated off the pages, yet so did her love for her daughters and her poodle, Tom. Her transformation from a caring, compassionate woman to a vengeful, hate-filled ghost, is for the most part understandable and lends a humanizing quality to her. The secondary characters were also richly drawn, even Tom, the poodle, who’s devotion to Joanna extends well beyond her death. You get to see things from both the daughters’ and Ned’s perspectives, which gives you a real sense of who they are. The close relationship that Joanna has with her daughters was beautiful and amazingly I even wound up liking Ned a little near the end. The author’s prose is elegant and flows smoothly right up until the perfect ending. The Next is a very unique mix of literary fiction and ghost story, and I think it’s going to attract a lot of readers once it’s released. I know that I’ll definitely be looking into any future books by Stephanie Gangi.