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Last Will

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  701 ratings  ·  78 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
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  701 ratings  ·  78 reviews

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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“He doesn’t need therapy. He just needs someone to love him.”

Multigajillionaire Pen Raleigh has died, leaving his company, home and entire fortune in the hands of the last in the line of Raleighs - Bernie. Spoiler Alert: I fell in love with him almost immediately . . . .

“My personal policy toward most of humanity resembles the Army’s policy regarding homosexuals. I won’t ask; please, don’t tell me.”

For whatever reason, my brai
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. Could have been a fantastic book but I felt like the author included a lot of gibberish that was not necessary to the story. I wish the main characters bond could have been developed a bit more. I’m not sure if Meda was best suited for Bernie because he was very endearing.
Nov 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is about life not being perfect. People not being perfect. That as we go through life, the paint chips off, we get dented, and sometimes we break.
Bryan Greenwood is very astute with the characters she writes about. She makes her characters seem like real people. A theme of hers seems to be not judging by appearance or even circumstance. Her writing makes me wonder what she would write about me if she knew me....
Her characters are broken but in a very particular way who by circumstance and /
May 02, 2012 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
Mar 28, 2012 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 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
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fairly enjoyable book. Was looking at this author's older works when I picked this up. A lot of hype regarding her newest book. I'll be interested to see if her writing is similar. This book wasn't fleshed out like it should have been. Left me with many questions that just weren't explained in the book. The writing itself was good, so that leaves me with optimism! It's a love story, about two imperfect people (aren't we all?) which makes it heartwarming and true to life. Her characters are real ...more
Jun 07, 2012 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
I am so sad to be giving Last Will only two stars. And the second star is purely for the beautiful writing.

I picked up Last Will because I read All the Ugly and Wonderful Things and I absolutely loved everything about it. So it seemed a natural for me to pick up another of Bryn Greenwood's other books. But even without comparing the two books I didn't like Last Will. Last Will was a well-written boring story.

This might be the 5th or so changing POV book I've read in a row now, so I'm going on a
Ramsey Hootman
Mar 29, 2012 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 24, 2012 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
Apr 03, 2012 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
Lorena Jasso
Nov 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Meet Bernie a 30 year old recluse, with a tragic past ,who works an an assistant librarian somewhere in Kansas.
Meet Meda, a beautiful twenty something girl with scars on her face and a tragic past, who works as a maid in a millionaire ‘s house.
These two quirky and sad people meet each other one day at a funeral and the story kicks off.

Bryn Greenwood narrates a Tale Of two unlikely people finding a chance at happiness and the obstacles they overcome to achieve it.

Recommended to folks who likes qu
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love how Greenwood brings two worlds together and shows the struggles and the challenges. Not a fast read and it lulled just a little, but I love her writing and will read anything I can get my hands on of hers.
May 06, 2012 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
Jun 07, 2012 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
Apr 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nadine Jones
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: broken, fiction
This book was amazing. I went from not really caring about the characters to being brought to actual tears because I cared so much.

The theme is a familiar one: two damaged and somewhat lonely people have carved out places for themselves in the world ... and then they meet, and work to carve out a new, possibly better, place.

The plot is not flashy or riveting or any of those other words. It is quiet, a little sneaky, and rather mesmerizing.

There are some clunky moments, and it took me a while to
Feb 13, 2021 rated it really liked it

Last Will
by Bryn Greenwood
(pub. 2012, less than 300 pages).

Book Blurb:
"Bernie Raleigh [a very tall, 30 year-old librarian] is a failure at nearly everything he touches [he failed to earn a high school diploma, failed out of every college & every career opportunity his uncle and grandfather found for him]. 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 grandfathe
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this read. It reminded me of the show This is Us with its depiction of family interactions and a couple who isn't "seen" in typical romantic mainstream dramas/novels. The angst/damaged characters paired with quirky comedy balance nicely, though I thought from 72% - 85% dragged a bit. The ending wasn't as powerful or climactic as I thought it would be, but perhaps it's symbolic of Bernie's "problem." ...more
Apr 05, 2012 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
Jennifer Walkup
Apr 19, 2012 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
Jessica Forgille
Jan 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I read this immediately after finishing "All the Ugly and Wonderful Things" also written by Bryan Greenwood. I gave that book 5 stars and added it to my "favorites" shelf. If I had read this book first I would not have rushed to read the other. I felt like it was hard to get a grasp on either Meda, which made me less fond of Bernie. Meda was upset or offended by every single thing Bernie said, did, or implied throughout the entire book. Which made Bernie seem a little pathetic for aggressively p ...more
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. ...more
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm not even sure how I found this book but I loved, loved, loved it. It started out feeling a bit silly, like a Rosie Project of sorts for the ridiculously rich; but it was a look at how damaged people try to rise above their trauma to a life of meaning and love. I found it utterly graceful and incredibly touching. ...more
Juli Keele
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Man, I love the way this woman writes romance. It is romance, but there is still plot and weirdly enough the women in her stories are actual people! Throw on top of it her condemnation for stereotypical gender roles and cliche romantic tropes and I am done for. LOVE this author. Off to read another of her books.
Apr 25, 2012 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.
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Kristen Ashley Ad...: Last Will- 6/11/12 31 85 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 NYT bestselling author of The Reckless Oath We Made, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, Lie Lay Lain, and Last Will. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

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“I wondered at how hard it was to change your reputation, because changing yourself was only half the battle and not even the most difficult half. The hard part was convincing the people who knew you that you’d changed.” 2 likes
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