My One True North

By Milly Johnson

Every life gone south could be fixed, every compass could be recalibrated to point upward to a north of hope.

“My compass is obviously off,” she said…

I just finished this book by Milly Johnson, and I’m a little extremely bummed. I only have one more to read of her backlist titles, before I am in the same position as all the other Milly fans and have to wait 6 months or longer between new publications. As always after I finish a Milly Johnson I have to exert the utmost discipline not to go right into the next book on my TBR list. Let’s see. Her next book is not out until October 14th (Way too long) So that means the U.S. version will probably be available about 5 days after that. I finished this book yesterday. So that’s 197 days. 197 divided by 2 is 98 1/2. So that means I can start I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day around July 13th in order to not be too long without a new Milly Johnson. OK, we’ll see how long my plan holds up.

My One True North continues to demonstrate the growth that Milly had started to show in 2017 by breaking free of her tried and true formula of basing her novels around 3 women and their personal growth from being victims of men (at least one of them) to triumph and love, usually late in life (at least for one.) Not that I didn’t enjoy this formula because she did it so well. Despite the similarities in the books, each one was fresh and so very entertaining and engaging. After all, As far as character development, no one can do “nice” like Milly and no one can do “vile” like her either.

This novel centers around a young widower and bereaved fiance of two people who were tragically killed in the same horrific multi-car crash. Their journey to recovery and ultimately new love takes some twisty turns both encouraging and happy to sad and scary. As the story progresses, we are given little hints that all was not as rosy as it seemed with their deceased partners. We understand that things were very wrong by about the 20% mark and the ugly truth is made apparent around halfway through. As usual, the mystery slowly reveals itself with some red herrings thrown in which keeps up the suspense and anticipation. As the two find their way to their “one true north,” we meet some old friends from two previous books and look behind the scenes of a certain hapless newspaper, a comic legend in the Barnsley community where most of Milly’s books are set. As always there is plenty of wit and humor despite the subject matter. We get to know their friends and family and are engaged in the little side stories. There are two evil villains in this story, but I loved that others I thought were also thoroughly despicable had some redemption or were not as black as I originally thought. In this book, even shallow low-character people can have hearts and find their soul mates. And a little celestial magic along the way to the satisfactory conclusion was more than welcome.**5 out of 5 stars**

April 5, 2021

**Re-read on Audible 03/17/2023**

Enjoyed this very much. No surprise. To my above review, I just want to add some things that really stood out for me this time around. (A little spoilery) First of all, I appreciated Laurie’s strength in standing up to some bad characters who sought to take advantage of her. She was not a victim of Alex’s mother nor the guy she started dating later in the story who turned out to be a narcissistic controller. He was practically a clone of Helen’s husband in Yorkshire Pudding Club, but unlike Helen, she did not get trapped in his web. I like that she acknowledged to herself, though, that she came too close for comfort. I think that Milly may have had some experience of that in the past (total speculation based on how often this kind of character shows up in her books), and this is her way of warning women (and men!) about some of the red flags to watch out for.
She was much stronger than Pete, who this time around, I didn’t like as well thanks to his reaction to finding out the full truth about his wife. I didn’t like how he acted like such an immature jerk. I didn’t like how he did not give Laurie the opportunity to decide for herself what she wanted to do with the truth, and just felt like he had the right to decide for her. He was trying to “protect” her, but it was paternalistic and he treated her like a child instead of an equal partner. I really hate when men do that in books or movies.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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