Review: Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler

Last will and testament scaled

First impressions last and, sadly, I didn’t like Elizabeth Brandt. No-cheating is an inflexible rule for me in the books I read: so, it goes without saying that I don’t look kindly on cheaters.

As far as I’m concerned, the only factor that can engender understanding on my part is if the “other” person is unaware of the cheater’s… encumberance. 

Initially, Elizabeth wasn’t aware that Trevor, her FWB, was in a relationship. She eventually found out, and he lied that his girlfriend was just a clingy ex.

In perhaps the most distasteful of all her actions in the coming chapters, she elected to continue their relationship. You would think that a person that resorted to underhanded lies to continue cheating would sink lower when he falls under direct threat; but she’s shocked all the same when their relationship is exposed and he lies that she is mentally-ill.

I’m sure an argument could be successfully made for her ignorance, but she deliberately stayed in the relationship knowing fully well that she was hurting someone.

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I appreciate that she later on acknowledged her mistake and apologised to the one that was cheated on, but that doesn’t exonerate her. Sure, the apology doesn’t soothe feelings, and she becomes the target of a smear campaign, but what matters is that it was done.

After her parents died in an accident, she became the legal guardian of her two siblings and transplanted them to the Radleigh University community so that they could start their lives anew.

She tried balancing a budding relationship with her teaching assistant, Connor—the male protagonist—, managing her new charges, and improving her grades.

As expected, she found it hard to navigate her new-found duties. Life was hectic for her. She made some bad decisions, got embroiled in a non-consensual pornography setup, and was bullied on campus.

Her grief wasn’t explored extensively—if at all. Barely two months after her parents’ deaths and she was just… being her usual annoying self.

I felt for her but I found the ‘attraction’ between the leads plastic. I couldn’t feel any tension or angst coming from the both of them, even though the book was leaning towards a taboo professor-student trope.

The steamy scenes were far and few inbetween. The plot circled around one unresolved question and it made the novel drag on for too long.

The romance between the characters was secondary to every other thing going on, and I feel the author, in perhaps a bid to give the book more depth, choked it full of meaningless chapters.

Elizabeth, the female main character (FMC), always talked about how grown she was and that her age—eighteen, by the way—didn’t matter. She based her supposed maturity on the fact that she was the sole guardian of her siblings. Considering that she had had this guardianship for less than six months, her argument was weak.

Connor, the male main character, was just as annoying as his girlfriend. I don’t like reading books where the author elevates self-loathing to an art, but that’s what happened here.

Before they had sex, whenever he would touch her or think about her premised a session of deep self-loathing. I kept thinking that if he was indeed serious about cutting ties, then he could have done it easily enough.

We don’t get any context on Connor and the little information about his family could be written in two lines. The details of his life were peppered across the pages and hardly substantial.  There’s reason I believe a romance author never goes wrong with a dual-POV or a third-person omniscient narrative.

I could go on and on with all the misses in this book, but that would become a summary. I didn’t like this book but I’m open to reading other works by this author; provided I am comfortable with the trope and sub-genre.

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Hi! I'm Preye ("pre" as in "prepare" and "ye" as in "Kanye"), and I am a lifelong book lover who enjoys talking about books and sharing bits and pieces of all the fascinating things I come across. I love books so much that I decided to become a developmental editor, and right now, I work with authors to help them tell their stories better. On this blog, I share everything from book recommendations to book reviews and writing tips, so feel free to stop by anytime you like!

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