A few years ago, I got into Alexandra Potter for a bit. I read a lot of her backlist and enjoyed them. And then I reached a point where I wasn’t being drawn to her books anymore. That changed when I read the summary of One Good Thing. Which, I won’t lie, I was surprised as this is a chick-lit novel that reads a lot older than I usually prefer and utilises multiple perspectives. And yet, I really enjoyed it. It was what I hoped it would be. I was lucky to get an early e-book copy to read of this through Random Things Tours, so thanks so much to Anne!
One Good Thing mostly follows Liv, a forty-something woman who has just gotten divorced from her cheating husband and decides she wants a fresh start in Yorkshire. Her new house becomes a building site – literally – and Liv realises that she has to find herself before she can really move on. By finding good things, from a dog to new friends and even helping out her neighbours, she finds joy again.
I read this book easily, within 2 days, and since it was over 400 pages, I’m pretty chuffed with that. I often struggle with books like this when they have multiple perspectives, but it was focused on Liv enough that I didn’t mind. Plus, I liked the other characters and felt for them. Especially Stanley, an autistic child who isn’t happy in school. I’ll admit, I did expect her to have a little more of a hands-on approach with him since she was trained as a teacher, but instead, she helps him find a new school better suited to him. It was very sweet. When something almost happens to him and the dog near the end….my heart was in my throat. Luckily it all turned out okay, but, phew, that was a worry for a moment.
Let me pause for a moment to talk about the dog. Liv didn’t plan on getting a dog. She only goes to the shelter as her house feels empty, and she plans on getting a puppy. But when she gets there, she sees this sad old Lurcher, Harry, and she decides to take him home. He’s a joy in this story. A very naughty dog who definitely causes trouble, but it’s nice to see an abandoned dog find new love. I’m a big dog lover so reading about how much the old boy’s life improved, just filled me with joy.
There were also definitely some sad elements. Liv is obviously struggling. She has grief from her childhood she never really dealt with, a sister she desperately wants to talk to, and she’s recently gotten divorced. Her life is a mess, so you really felt for her. One of the extra narrators, an old man called Valentine, also had a sad part in the story. His wife sadly had dementia and was in a home. Watching him deal with that, thinking of my own grandparents. It bought tears to my eyes. Things worked out in the end, but it’s a little upsetting. Just in a well-written way.
I’m pleased to say there was also romance in this book. It was a little obvious, but it was cute all the same. Liv used to stay in this village in the summer as a kid as her grandparents lived there. She’d had a crush on an older boy and thought he hadn’t liked her. Years pass, and they meet again and properly fall in love. It was very cute. There was still some drama, and there’s essentially a third-act breakup, but it’s not really a breakup. And you can completely understand why it happened. There’s no miscommunication or anything like that. It’s someone dealing with guilt and needing space. Maybe that’s a good thing about reading about older characters than myself. They’re a little more aware of how things should be.
That said, as much as I enjoyed this, I do think that fans of chick-lit who are the same age as Liv will enjoy it more. It was fun reading her story and seeing her finding herself after many years. But I’ve not lived her experiences emotionally. I’m younger, and I crave a little more adventure I guess. But I think this is a good book to curl up with and just enjoy. It’s very cosy and fun. You just might need some tissues for the emotional bits.
Title: One Good Thing
Author: Alexandra Potter
Age Range: Adult
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Release Date: 28/4/22