The Queen of Wishful Thinking

By Milly Johnson

Bonnie took them from him and felt a fizzy thrill zip around inside her. She’d done it. She’d actually done what she had wished she could do. These were not only keys for the doors of a little house, they were keys to a new life, a life without Stephen. Her freedom. She wouldn’t be going back to him, whatever he said, whatever he did. A Queen of Wishful Thinking would only ever move forwards.

I’m one of those idiots that didn’t think I’d be really happy without possessions.’ He locked eyes with a startled Gemma and went on in a voice that was raw with feeling, ‘But I was so wrong. Things don’t make you happy, people do. Which is why I am walking out of this door now and leaving.’…Look after yourself, Pat,’ said Lew. ‘I will. And you. Life’s too short to struggle on when you know you’re in the wrong place. See you around. Keep in touch with me. Please.’ And before Lew could say that of course he would, Patrick, like a hirsute Elvis, had left the building.

Milly Johnson has a great gift. She has a way of making the reader (me, at least) of not just disliking or not approving of the adversaries to the sympathetic central characters but hating them with a passion. Usually, these are bad spouses and that is the case in The Queen of Wishful Thinking. It is the journey two nice people who are meant for each other but who have to lose their spouses from hell first. But it is also about a woman finding fulfillment in a career and life outside of any romance. It is set in the fascinating world of antiques-So much more interesting than ice cream shops or tea shops! And this world, both in and out of the antique “emporium”, is full of complex and fully rounded secondary characters both funny and sad.

Character development is another of Milly’s great gifts. In this one, Milly largely avoids writing our heroine, Bonnie, as a complete and utter victim. Yes, she is victimized and victimized horribly, but she is a woman with a plan. That said though, some of her decisions later in the book, were still very disappointing. I appreciate that the author tried to explain how Bonnie got herself in such untenable situations and was trying throughout the book to get herself out. That hasn’t always been the case with Milly Johnson and it often has tempted me to throw my Kindle across the room. If it had been a paper book, I probably would have!

Her hero, Lew, is also in a very unsatisfactory marriage. The reader understands much more than he does throughout much of the book how very unsatisfactory it is. Once he gets the whole picture, he acts with strength and decisiveness. It is such a relief when his wife is fully exposed and Lew sees the light.

So once again, I’ll add this novel to the long list of Milly Johnson home runs. Full of humor, tears, great interesting characters, loads of tension and suspense, and a fully realized happy ending to sigh over. Milly Johnson is not for the faint of heart, but The greater your storm, The brighter your rainbow. **5 out of 5 stars**

August 20, 2020

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