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Last Will

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  76 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Bernie Raleigh is a failure at nearly everything he touches. Nobody notices a loser, and after being kidnapped for ransom as a child, Bernie has spent his adult life trying to avoid being noticed. That's impossible now that he's inherited his grandfather's enormous fortune. The inheritance comes complete with a mansion, a lot of obligations, and a very problematic housekee ...more
Paperback, 279 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Stairway Press (first published April 2012)
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May 02, 2012 Jill rated it really liked it

When Bernie Raleigh's grandfather dies, he inherits his vast fortune. Leaving his satisfying life as a librarian behind, Bernie returns to the life he left twenty years earlier. Meda Amos is one of the domestics in Bernie's newly-inherited mansion. A beautiful face marred only by a few facial scars, she is a constant distraction for Bernie. Both Bernie and Meda have troubled pasts. Both are limited by those past events in the present. Yet as they come to know each other these two may be able to
Stacia (the 2010 club)
2.5 stars. This is the second time in less than 24 hours where I'm going to have to use the terms quiet and anti-climactic in a review. There's no doubt that I should consider digging deep into my mental thesaurus to come up with different terms but I'm going to reserve the effort for a book I'd rather gush about.

Even though this was a much easier read than Lies of Locke Lamora, I don't think I can award bonus points for being able to get through the book quickly. The style of writing was not to
Last Will is one of the most charming and uplifting book I've read in recent years - last year's Lover's dictionary and 2010 Thera are other similar books I greatly enjoyed - while staying very grounded in "reality", though of course both main characters (Bernie and Meda) who alternate first person narration (with few interludes from Bernie's aunt who sort of functions as an outside/back story pov) are quite unlikely themselves, but the skill of the author is such that both just stand out, take ...more
Lisa Brackmann
Apr 05, 2012 Lisa Brackmann rated it it was amazing
"When you get to the point where you know the worst thing about someone you love, you know the truth about yourself," words spoken by one of the main characters in Bryn Greenwood's LAST WILL that summarize the novel better than any words I can summon myself. Bryn Greenwood writes about the wounds that define us, and the possibilities and limits of recovery, with precision, humor and an unsentimental clarity of vision. I can't wait for the next book from this fresh, original voice!
Aug 02, 2012 Judy rated it really liked it

I don't recall how this book came to my attention. Stairway Press is the tiniest of indie publishers and the only unfortunate result of that is a possible lack of publicity. Because this is a great novel that falls just enough off the beaten track of current fiction to make it refreshingly unique.

Bernie Raleigh is a 30-year-old man to whom nothing good has ever happened. He is the grandson and sole heir of the richest man in Oklahoma City. Kidnapped when he was almost 10 by a local psychopath h
Jul 19, 2012 Ian rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

"What a cunt," Ray said, louder, emboldened by his friends' laughter. Meda didn't pause and my gut churned to hear him reduce her to the thing he'd done to her. The truth is that every fistfight I ever had, most of them with Robby, ended with me getting the worst of it. I was not prepared to take on five guys. I wasn't afraid. It's not like my nose was ever going to be straight again, but it seemed futile. I think even by the kindest of standards I was something of a weakling, but I ha
May 24, 2012 Dana rated it it was amazing
Last Will is a stealth book. There are no explosions or car chases, no over the top confrontations, no murders. It doesn't need any of these things to totally suck the reader in. I was quietly and totally sucked into the story and the character interaction all the way to the very satisfying and uplifting ending. Bryn Greenwood is an amazing writer. She has the ability to convey so much with some of the most concise and precise writing I've ever seen. Last Will is the literary equivalent of an in ...more
Jun 14, 2012 Katie rated it really liked it
3 1/2 stars for me, but I rounded up.

When Bernie's grandfather dies Bernie finds himself to be the sole heir of an insurmountable fortune. Bernie is not happy about this. In fact, it is a huge disruption and inconvenience in his normally quiet and unobtrusive life. When he's forced to his grandfather's home to take care of settling the estate, Bernie becomes enamored with Meda, one of the house keepers who tends to the huge mansion.

Both Bernie and Meda have troubled pasts. Meda, who is describ
May 03, 2012 Aftan rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ramsey Hootman
May 12, 2012 Ramsey Hootman rated it really liked it
If you're looking for unique characters that will stick with you long after the last page is turned, you've come to the right book.

My advice to readers is this: stick with it. You'll be rewarded. Last Will is intriguing and a little puzzling at the start, but if you don't connect with the characters immediately (which I didn't), rest assured that you will. I was a good halfway through the book before Bernie and Meda really became clear to me as people. I think the author is intentional about mak
May 06, 2012 Vox rated it really liked it
I have a love-hate relationship with books about broken people. Sometimes, I'm in the mood and enjoy reading about people who can't get out of their own way to discover happiness. And then there are times when I just do not have the patience to read about people who need fixing. I've got enough problems.

So after I started Bryn Greenwood's Last Will and discovered that it is about not one, but TWO broken people, I realized I had to suck it up and get past my initial bad mood. I'd just finished wi
Jennifer Walkup
Nov 21, 2013 Jennifer Walkup rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to get my hands on an early copy of Last Will. Word of advice: get your copy now. And when do, set aside a big chunk of time to read it. It’s so compelling, I think I read it in two sittings. It’s not only a beautifully written, complicated, and layered tale of pain and healing, but a touching story of two amazing characters getting to know each other and themselves. Greenwood is absolutely masterful at bringing Bernie and Meda to life on the page, and made me fall in love wit ...more
May 23, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it
This book was written by a grad school classmate of mine, and I suppose I was predisposed toward liking it for that reason, but I truly adored it. The main characters are damaged people trying to find a path leading to a loving relationship. The sources of their problems are revealed gradually and in devastatingly offhand ways. You cringe for them and admire them and wish for their success. The minor characters illuminate the main characters beautifully. The book reminds me of Ann Patchett's ear ...more
Apr 22, 2012 Cindy rated it it was amazing
this novel was such a treat to read.

it is a quiet book, action wise,
but so very powerful emotionally. it
truly resonates.

beautifully written from the point of
view of our hero, heroine and the hero's
aunt, greenwood reveals each character
unflinchingly, precisely and with truth.
each narrator is "broken" in his or her
own way, yet still survivors, and ultimately,
Last Will was so uplifting for me. a
true pleasure to read and such a strong
debut. i love both bernie and meda, our
hero and heroine.

highly re
Kell Andrews
A riveting, compassionate, twisty, humane book. Librarian Bernie Raleigh, kidnapped for ransom as a child, inherits his grandfather's immense fortune and must come to terms with the wealth and the wounds that they caused him. He encounters Meda Amos, one-time beauty queen, current housekeeper and single mother, who has psychic and physical scars of her own, but might be his best chance of navigating the new role Bernie never sought but finds himself living.
Sep 06, 2016 Kristen rated it it was amazing
What an unexpected treat. I found this book and author by chance and I am so grateful. I found these characters to be incredibly moving. I wished that they were living people that I could spy on as a fly on the wall. They felt that real to me and I cared so deeply for both of them. It is fair to say that it requires patience and investment. It is not the right fit if you’re looking for something easy and cheerful. But if you’re looking for portraits of fascinating people with complicated histori ...more
Nov 29, 2012 Lucy rated it it was ok
It's different then what I usually pick up, I'll tell you.
But it's a good read, I'm sure of.
It's honest and direct as the characters think their thoughts and put their feelings out in the open. I enjoyed reading the authors' words as they went along, not sure what would happen next.
Mar 23, 2014 Bookmole rated it it was amazing
A genuine 5* review. And this book deserves them all!

I picked this up, read a chapter, thought, mmm, that’s good, then proceeded to ignore it for weeks.

Picked it up two days ago, and read it in two long sessions, curled up in bed.

The gradual unfolding of lives lived is meticulously done here by Bryn - from the unloving mother to the pageant-loving aunt, all the characters are real. The only thing that felt a little unreal to me was Bernie's attitude to his inheritance. But then, Bill Gates has g
Jan 22, 2014 G.J. rated it it was amazing
Bryn Greenwood's mastery of revealing the human condition leaves me wondering about the next hours, days and years of her wonderful characters. Every page gives the reader a little jewel, sometimes a big one, other times several wonderful moments. It's a rare novel that builds intensity of the heart and mind right to the end. Multiple wounds of the past are revealed in just the right elegant way--at the same pace as Meda and Bernie are able to relive them and confront them. Humor and true insigh ...more
Jun 13, 2012 Diane rated it really liked it
I wanted more for Bernie in the ending...I needed a great epilog or something to know he was going to be ok.
Aug 02, 2015 Jay rated it really liked it
Full Disclosure: I won an autographed copy of this novel from the author’s blog.

That said, Last Will isn’t my typical reading fare in that it’s a romance. However, it’s more a study in human psychology than anything else. It is not a bodice-ripper in any way, shape or form.

The plot was well thought out, but I found the structure a bit lacking. I’m not adverse to shifting perspective, but shifting perspective in the middle of a conversation can be of-putting at times.

Thankfully, most of these shi
Avevo letto splendidi commenti su questo libro su Fantasy Book Critic, e lo scorso anno lo avevo poi preso sul Kindle nell’ambito dell’operazione Saccheggio Amazoniano.
Un libro lontano dal fantastico che solitamente leggo, lontano da saghe, da draghi, da mondi medioevali o futuristici.
Un libro che è una storia d’amore complicata.

Ed è complicata perché complicati sono i protagonisti.
Bernie è un bibliotecario che vive la sua vita pacifica e tranquilla, almeno fino a quando non muore suo nonno. E s
The prose is awesome. The characters are believable and believably damaged. Their families are believable and believably dysfunctional. Their communities are believable and the evil they do and tolerate is believably infuriating.

Their story is not for me. Which is about me and my non-transparent eyeball, not the story, so there’s that. This story felt like a jewel box depiction of ordinary lives that, in Neil Gaiman’s arresting phrase, are like every other, unlike every other. I have a great de
Sep 22, 2013 Bea rated it liked it
This is kind of an odd love story. An man who is extremely wealthy and lacking in social skills falls in love with his housekeeper. As we read through the story, we learn that he was kidnapped as a child and what he went through with that, and explore his feelings of being pretty much unloved by his family. It was easy to read but not breathtaking or anything.
Mar 22, 2016 Red rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A quietly charming, character-driven novel. Alternating POV is used effectively to help the reader get to know and empathize with Bernie and Meda as their individual and shared challenges are revealed. Good pacing and storytelling. Not a stereotypical love story.
Michelle [Helen Geek]
Just don't think I can do this. To be fair, I want to think about the review before I write it. Just did not like this at all. It never engaged this reader.

Nope .. not thinking this will be a happy read.

ARC 06/05/2012.
Laura Roberts
Nov 30, 2012 Laura Roberts rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
Review available at The US Review of Books:
Jennifer Conover
Jennifer Conover is currently reading it
Sep 25, 2016
Frank S.
Frank S. rated it liked it
Sep 25, 2016
Janna marked it as to-read
Sep 24, 2016
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Kristen Ashley Ad...: Last Will- 6/11/12 31 84 Jun 14, 2012 10:25AM  
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BRYN GREENWOOD is a fourth-generation Kansan and the daughter of a mostly reformed drug dealer. She is the author of the novels All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, Last Will, and Lie Lay Lain. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

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