I originally saw this book on Jill’s Book Cafe. It sounded so good, that when hen it was offered for audiobook review, I did not hesitate to grab it and am so glad I did. Check out Jill’s post, it is quite informative and was what intrigued me to listen/read this one. Thanks Nicki, for reminding me who had recommended this one.

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Better Luck Next Time by Julia Claiborne Johnson, David Aaron Baker (Narrator)

Published January 5th 2021 by HarperAudio, Custom House

About the Book: The long anticipated second novel from the bestselling author of Be Frank with Me, a charming story of endings, new beginnings, and the complexities and complications of friendship and love, set in late 1930s Reno.

It’s 1938 and women seeking a quick, no-questions split from their husbands head to the “divorce capital of the world,” Reno, Nevada. There’s one catch: they have to wait six-weeks to become “residents.” Many of these wealthy, soon-to-be divorcees flock to the Flying Leap, a dude ranch that caters to their every need. 

Twenty-four-year-old Ward spent one year at Yale before his family lost everything in the Great Depression; now he’s earning an honest living as a ranch hand at the Flying Leap. Admired for his dashing good looks – “Cary Grant in cowboy boots”—Ward thinks he’s got the Flying Leap’s clients all figured out. But two new guests are about to upend everything he thinks he knows: Nina, a St Louis heiress and amateur pilot back for her third divorce, and Emily, whose bravest moment in life was leaving her cheating husband back in San Francisco and driving herself to Reno.

A novel about divorce, marriage, and everything that comes in between (money, class, ambition, and opportunity), ‘BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME’ is a hilarious yet poignant examination of the ways friendship can save us, love can destroy us, and the family we create can be stronger than the family we come from.


Better Luck Next Time

4.5 Stars: 

Better Luck Next Time was a great, entertaining and enjoyable story. It is a bit of historical fiction, as these divorce ranches really did exist in the 1930s, a story of friendship, love, self-reflection and new beginnings. When I say love, I do not mean romance, but the love we have for other people we care very deeply about.

The story is set in 1938 at the Flying Leap Ranch in Reno, Nevada. It is narrated by Ward, a 24 year old ranch hand, whose family lost everything in the depression so he had to drop out of Yale University. The other characters are women, wealthy women, who are getting divorced, some of them had been there before. The two guests that this story revolves around are Nina, a St Louis heiress and amateur pilot back for her third divorce, and Emily, whose bravest moment in life was leaving her cheating husband back in San Francisco and driving herself to Reno. I really liked both of these women, although for very different reasons. Nina is brash, loud and goes after what she wants, where Emily is a bit of a follower, quiet and nervous. Some of the things they get involved in made me laugh out loud. Their conversations and things they shared were often outrageous. Ward is telling this story as an elderly man, sharing his reminiscences. There is a bit of a surprise at the end, which tied together some questions I had. I enjoyed this story and am very glad it was recommended to me.

David Aaron Baker narrated this audiobook and did a great job. There was such a variety of voices in this book and he made them all believable. I could identify most of the character’s voices with various regional accents, tone and inflection. I have not listened to a lot of books narrated by male performers, but it gave this audiobook that little extra. I will definitely not hesitate to listen to David Aaron Baker again. I was gifted a copy of this book from the publisher upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.