“No one can say for sure what’s coming. All we can do is keep loving each other one day at a time.”
Truer words were never spoken, as readers will discover in One Month of You. This upcoming modern romance explores the importance of spending time wisely, weighs hope against expectation, and seamlessly combines tenderness with grit and fortitude. Many thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark for providing me with an ARC copy to check out so I can give you all my two cents.
Let me start with a disclaimer. I am not typically one for casually reading (or watching) typical love stories. Tropes tend to abound there, and while many are of course relatable (that’s how they become tropes, right?), being able to predict the ending every time gets old—fast. So a hefty complication or twist is a must for this reader, lest I get ahead of myself, get bored, and get rid of the book in my hand as fast as humanly possible. In this regard, Suzanne Ewart doesn’t disappoint. After all, one of the biggest twists anyone can experience in the real world is learning you’ve inherited a major degenerative illness while taking on the role of caretaker for your own mother. Watching her mom battle Huntington’s disease is a glimpse into the future while she nurtures the deteriorating present, and it’s taught Jess that life is easier with more than six degrees of separation between herself and just about everyone else. This mindset leads her to make an ironclad resolution not to date—at least until Alec, protagonist number two, wears her down with an otherworldly level of optimism and mostly levelheaded charm.
Yes, you read that correctly: mostly levelheaded charm. I specify this because while a persistent male lead in pursuit of a reasonably resistant female protagonist usually raises some justifiable red flags, they’re quietly held at bay in One Month of You by the very hands of time. When Jess does give in to Alec’s shenanigans and allows him exactly one month of dating, it’s supposed to be just that. Four weeks to pretend there isn’t the promise of a debilitating condition hanging over her head, four weeks blurring the lines between what is and what could feasibly be, and four weeks to live as normally as she can while she can. But as much as I commend her for compromising only when she has articulated her terms with every intention of sticking to them, I don’t think I’ll be the only reader who predicts this fixed-contract relationship going off the rails before the last page.
Beyond the metaphorical matters of the heart, it’s evident that Ewart really did her research to paint a vivid picture of the trials of not only living with Huntington’s disease, but of going from child to parent and having to put on a brave face through it all. When the will-they-won’t-they romantic plot line isn’t taking center stage, readers dive headfirst into a familial minefield fraught with new and increasingly limiting symptoms, disappointment, and guilt. All of this culminates into an authentic kind of heartbreak that, in many ways, hits so much harder than most breakups could: the gradual loss of a parent. It’s this facet of the book that I think makes Ewart’s voice and characters shine; their prolonged grief and genuine reactions to what the harsher parts of life dish out outweigh the softer, flirtier components of the romantic evolution both Jess and Alec undergo.
For lovers of love (yep, I gagged a bit on that one, but I stand by it), and especially for those who might have gone through something similar with a parent, a friend, or any other loved one, I recommend giving One Month of You a spot on your TBR list. Even if romance isn’t your bread and butter, there’s a lot of feeling packed in just a few hundred pages; if you’re not careful, it’ll stick with you for much longer than thirty-one days.