3.5⭐️ – The first time Merritt saw Austen, it was by accident. She was entirely focused on her studies and her love life, let alone her sex life, was quasi non-existent. She couldn’t resist the flirtatious rock star and the time they spent together, however short and ill-fated, changed her life. When they meet again eleven years later, Merritt has just come back from an excruciatingly difficult assignment in Peru with Doctors Without Borders (DWB) and Austen is a bigger star than ever.
This book, co-authored by seasoned writer Maggie Brown and debut novelist Leni Hanson, is not too far from being a full-fledged 4⭐️. The main issue for me was that, while I liked both main characters, I had a hard time believing such a short encounter could have such an impact on someone. That part of the story required some suspension of disbelief but once I’d managed that, I rather enjoyed the chemistry between the characters. It was nice to get glimpses of the real and vulnerable Austen behind the rock star facade, and I really liked the relationship between Merritt and her mother. Merritt’s father was also an interesting character, if an unsavoury one.
I liked everything about DWB. There was enough to give the story depth and flesh but not so much as to take over the feel-good romance, which was my reason to read this book. And I’ll have to check out Playing the Spy, as Austen started her life as a secondary character in that book, and In the Company of Crocodiles, whose Claire and Vivian appear in the last part of The Last Time We Met, where the pace picks up in a very exciting way.
All in all, The Last Time We Met is a promising collaboration and I hope it’s only the beginning of these two authors writing together. And the story of how they came to write together, which they tell here, is pretty nice too.