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I adore a good love story and One Last Love is an excellent one though so very different from the norm. As the title suggests, Bonnie finds love with another patient, Madeline and this is so beautifully written. Where other authors might have been tempted to over-dramatise the relationship, Haines keeps it so low-key and honest that it is much more profound and touching. It was in my mind from the first page that this book could only end in one way but, yet again, Haines did not opt for the easy or predictable finale and I closed the book feeling satisfied and very happy that I had got to know Bonnie.
Review by Irish Eyes.
From the Back Cover
And in the end... he found true love.
"Imagine being transferred to a hospice to live out the last days of your life, only to find the love of your life you know you cannot enjoy forever?
This is a story of finding love within boundaries, as the main character is at the end of his life. What happens when people have come to that place in their lives where to do not regret anymore what they have done or had not, and finally accept life's true intend of having reached the end?
Find out how an interesting twist so close to the end gives a man a completely new but short purpose in life, something others might never find throughout their whole life?
A story in where romance meets drama... A story about reflective thoughts... A story about finding love at last...
This gives us a great look at what goes through someone's mind in the last days of his life. Too bad it took going into hospice for the main character to realize that people have more to offer than what we see on the outside. Bonnie is a man in his 70's facing his immortality. It's now down to a week or two and he is sent to a hospice center for the last of his days. All his life he had been prejudiced against blacks, against gays, against teens with tatoo's and piercings, and yet these were the first people to befriend him in hospice. To sit by his bed when he was too ill to fend for himself. It surprised him, and he was forced into taking an honest look at himself and realized how he had treated "these kind of people" when he was younger.
We all now people like him, my own father is like that, and he is 91 so he is never going to change, but I sure wish he was still able to read. I think it would be an eye-opener. Yes, I read him some lines, and did tell him about it. Unfortunately, dementia is getting in the way of anything we tell him, sadly, he won't remember it tomorrow.
One of the things I loved most was that this main character (think Walter Matthau) has such a good sense of humor, even in facing death. He makes you chuckle with his comments and realism, and that was the gift he gave to his new friends in hospice with him. I think that alone bought him some redemption for past injustices, that he brought laughter into the lives of others suffering through their last days. Even one of the nurses commented in the first day or two of his stay there that she hadn't heard laughter in the lunchroom, well, ever.
I adore a good love story and One Last Love is an excellent one though so very different from the norm. Bonnie has only days left to live and as you would expect, he is thinking back over his life and examining his conscience. The other inhabitants of the hospice also cause him to acknowledge his prejudices and faults but he realises that even now, at the 11th hour, it is not too late to change or to make amends. The strongest thing about this story is its simplicity. When Bonny first arrives he is shocked when a man he saw at dinner is being taken away in a hearse the following morning and that no one seems too upset about the fact. This stark, honest and raw treatment of death is very effective. As is the fact that within twenty-four hours Bonnie too has come to accept that death is simply a normal part of life in the hospice. Yet, every time Bonnie said 'see you tomorrow' to another patient I wondered - as I'm sure the author wanted me to - would he. This alone kept me turning the pages to see who would be next. As the title suggests, Bonnie finds love with another patient, Madeline and this is so beautifully written. Where other authors might have been tempted to over-dramatise the relationship, Haines keeps it so low-key and honest that it is much more profound and touching. It was in my mind from the first page that this book could only end in one way but, yet again, Haines did not opt for the easy or predictable finale and I closed the book feeling satisfied and very happy that I had got to know Bonnie. I will, without doubt, be reading more from Mr Haines!
Derek Haines very capably puts the reader in front of one of life's imponderables, death - coming swiftly face-to-face with the reality of the unavoidable and immense finality of our lives and discovering a last love at the same time whose beneficial effects would ease the inexorability of the final days.
Delicate, touching yet matter-of-fact as to what was happening and what would happen. Heart-wrenching, although I cried inside - this book made me reconsider my own life, how would I react in similar circumstances (can never be ruled out), how would I face it, how would I look back on days past, what regrets would I have? Made me reflect a lot, which is no bad thing.
It also made me feel hope for people in these circumstances, the knowledge that it was still possible to find some happiness, which in itself can bring relief, albeit temporary.
This book left me with a feeling of, difficult to describe, emptiness in knowing that for the hospice inmates, there was no foreseeable future, and understanding their need to live each minute of each day to the full while they could.
A tough but very worthwhile read, and one that I highly recommend - some Kleenex necessary.
I might come back to this review later, as my thoughts are still fairly jumbled.
One Last Love by Haines, Derek is a love story set in the most unimaginable place. I always thought it was just me who was one of the last "hopeless romantics" out there. After reading this great book, I know now that I'm not the only one. This book will definitely give you the reassurance that love and happiness can be felt no matter how bad things get. Bonnie is a man who makes his sad reality into something much more pleasant. I do have to warn you this book is a tear jerker, but well worth the saddening tears. I couldn't put this baby down. It wasn't something I normally would have read (luckily I took the time to read the reviews for this book) but I'm glad that I did. The ending might be one of the most realistic happy endings that I have come across with. I personally don't like reviews that basically spoil the reading, so I won't be summarizing this book or writing any spoilers. I will however say it like it is, "This book will send your emotions into a rollercoaster ride of emotions" It won't have you barfing at the end but it will have you feeling satisfied and happy that you got to experience it. Derek Haines made me feel as if I knew Bonnie, Danny, Madeleine and even Charles and his daughter Beatrice personally and that's was what prompted me to write this review. I hope that whoever gets a chance to read this review can understand that One Last Love gives you an experience that sadly enough not many books are able to give you.