Dawn and her husband are frequent users of Getaway.com. For Dawn, staying in someone's home, rather than a hotel, allows her to imagine this is her life. It allows her to fully immerse herself in the trip and enjoy all her own getaway has to offer. Until the vacation is over, that is. But her experience in Miranda's Santa Monica home was less than stellar. So when she receives a snide email from Miranda, stating that due to a rather large stain left on the bedsheets, Dawn will be losing half of her deposit, Dawn is immediately offended.
For Miranda, the Santa Monica home is more than just a little extra income. She is, after all, the wife of a doctor. No one would expect that she'd need money on the side. But Miranda has been funneling the money into an effort to care for her son - in secret. So when Dawn's anger pushes her to leave a three star review, Miranda begins to worry it'll drop her reservations. But every attempt to convince Dawn to take the review down is met with increasing anger and as the situation spirals out of control, Miranda is forced to consider extreme measures.
I love the premise of This is Not Over. The prevalence of short term rentals as an alternative to hotels has undoubtedly become hugely popular. And yes, it does allow for a certain amount of homeyness that a hotel doesn't. But you know, those drab cookie cutter hotels do have regulations, and managers, and places you can take your complaint should something like being charged an exorbitant amount for a set of replacement sheets should happen...
I have to say I really did not like Dawn or Miranda. These are two women who, if met in real life, would drive me out of my mind! And watching them go to war was less of the thriller I'd expected and more annoyed amusement - honestly (and I kind of hate to admit it) waiting for each of them to get what they deserved for spending so much time bullying one another was part of the best anticipation of the read.
In both cases, their story starts out simple. Dawn is married to a patient and supportive man who encourages her to go back to college. They rent, he works for the family business, and Dawn is allowed to focus all of her efforts on school. So their trips are real treats for themselves. And Dawn does take offense to what she believes is a stab at her quality of person and life when Miranda implies they've ruined a set of sheets in her rental.
Miranda, a respectable doctor's wife and volunteer, has taken sole responsibility for her parents' old home in the wake of her father's death and her mother's need for assisted living. And because of a strained relationship between her son and her husband, it does allow her the freedom to lend the boy a hand every now and again. Plus, she really couldn't see herself selling the abode - it meant so much to her parents. With so many glowing recommendations for her rental, though, Dawn's review stings more than just a little.
Of course as the story continues we get to know these characters more fully. Neither is a pillar of their community - they each have flaws and quirks in their own right. And they each nag at one another, making the situation much worse than it needs to be. And then things around each of them, beyond their own picking at one another, begin to crumble.
I did quite enjoy the build of this tale. Brown, a marriage and family therapist, adds to each character in layers, revealing their secrets and their proclivities more fully in each chapter. There is no good guy here. Nor is there really a bad guy. Just two sides of an argument spun madly and wildly out of control. And they both seemingly realize it, considering they keep much of what's happening to themselves, adding to the mess.
So the moral of the story, kids, is this: focusing all of your effort and attention on ruining someone else's life is bad for you!
To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here. And for more on Holly Brown and her work, you can like her on Facebook.
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