Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin
Date of publication: May 2nd, 2023
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Fiction, Adult, Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, Adult Fiction
Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N |AbeBooks | WorldCat
The Hating Game meets Beach Read in Katy Birchall’s enemies-to-lovers romcom The Last Word , about a young journalist who puts her career (and her heart) on the line when her former work nemesis is hired in her newsroom.
Harper Jenkins is at the top of her game. A brilliant, determined journalist with a well-known knack for getting tight-lipped Hollywood stars to open up to her, Harper loves her job as Celebrity Editor at a newspaper’s glossy weekend magazine and has the best contacts in the business.
But when her awful boss hires talented reporter Ryan to be the new Features Editor, Harper is furious. Because the two have met a decade ago, they were interns at the same publication, where they fell into a whirlwind romance…until Ryan betrayed Harper, and they never spoke again.
Thrown together in a busy newsroom, their dynamic is a disaster from the start. They can’t agree on anything and bicker constantly―Ryan can’t bear how chaotic and messy Harper is; Harper finds Ryan’s condescending nature infuriating. They clash over who’s writing what article, and fight over who’s going to which event.
Yet as they’re forced to spend more and more time together, Harper realizes she may have misjudged Ryan and can’t help but feel a spark growing between them. Long buried feelings start to resurface and, when they’re thrown together on a romantic press trip abroad, their chemistry comes to a head.
But all is fair in love and magazines, and with the news that layoffs across the department are imminent, Harper is left to who will get the last word?
The question is posed toward the end of the night, as a large box of chocolates is passed around the table and Mimi, the host, fills up wine glasses so her fridge isn’t left with bottles that are two-thirds drunk.The Last Word by Katy Birchall
Harper is killing it at her newspaper. A top-rated celebrity journalist, she is known for getting Hollywood stars and starlets to open up to her. She is also known for her business contacts, which she worked hard to get. But things start going sideways for her when Ryan is hired as the new Features Editor. Harper and Ryan were a thing over ten years ago, and that ended in disaster when Ryan betrayed Harper. She has never forgiven him or gotten over the betrayal. But, the more time they are forced to spend together, the more Harper realizes that she might have overreacted and that her feelings for Ryan might be more profound than she admits. How will Harper and Ryan’s romance end? Will it be a happily ever after? Or will it be over before it gets a chance to take off?
I was not expecting to dislike The Last Word. Usually, these chick-lit romances are a fun, quick read for me. A light bit of fluff is a palate cleanser for my brain (I read many books with heavier content). I went into reading The Last Word expecting it to be a mildly pleasant book. It was not. Unfortunately, the main female character ruined the book for me. To say I disliked her is putting it mildly.
The storyline for The Last Word was easy to follow. Taking place mainly in London, the book follows Harper as she navigates her career and relationships. I did like the storyline. It was well written and kept my attention on the book (even with my intense dislike of Harper).
I couldn’t stand Harper. While I admired that she had worked hard to prove her parents wrong, I felt she came across as a spoiled brat for almost the entire book. I didn’t understand why she disliked poor Ryan for so long. The author kept that a secret until nearly halfway through the book. Meanwhile, Harper acted like a fool in her office (screaming at Ryan, accusing him of stealing her stuff, mocking his cookies, and freaking out about other things). I might have sympathy for her if the author had disclosed what he did (and honestly, it wasn’t a big deal). But then she did it again (when the layoffs happened), and her behavior made me sick. I did have a small amount of sympathy for her because of how her parents were. I felt that the author threw that in just for that reason.
As much as I liked and felt bad for Ryan, I wish he had stood up for himself. He let Harper walk all over him at the magazine. Listen, I get that he didn’t want to rock the boat with her at work (she did have seniority), but he turned into a freaking doormat. When the author finally divulged why Harper hated him, I got it. What he did wasn’t right, but telling Harper she didn’t get the job wasn’t his place. I also got why he didn’t tell her about the layoffs at the magazine. It wasn’t his place (it was that idiot, Cosmo). But he still let Harper blame him for everything. It got old after a while, and honestly, he should have moved on after the layoff.
There are sex scenes in The Last Word. They were non-graphic. Because of how I felt about Harper, I was a little disgusted by reading them.
The end of The Last Word was interesting. I liked how Harper took her layoff and turned it around. She could keep doing what she loved but on her own time. That was awesome. I also liked how Harper told her parents and sister off. It was long overdue. Harper and Ryan got their HEA, but it left a bad taste in my mouth. She was awful and didn’t deserve him (there, I said it). And while I liked the epilogue, it didn’t evoke the happy feelings they usually do. Instead, I felt nothing but pity for Ryan.
I recommend this book to anyone over 21. There is language, mild violence, and language.
Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin, NetGalley, and Katy Birchall for allowing me to read and review The Last Word. All opinions stated in this review are mine.
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2 thoughts on “The Last Word by Katy Birchall”
It’s the worst when the main character is awful – sorry this one didn’t work for you!
It is. If the book is written to have an awful main character, then I will deal but in this case, I couldn’t deal.