BLURB: Tara Babcock awakes the morning after her 30th birthday with a hangover that could kill an elephant - and the knowledge she is still no closer to achieving closure on her marriage breakup. Things go from bad to worse when she discovers that, not only is her ex-husband engaged to her cousin - Tash, the woman he left her for - but that Jake is also running for Lord Mayor of Sydney. Desperate to leave the destructive relationship behind and with nothing to lose, she decides- with encouragement from her three best friends - to follow the dubious advice from a magazine article, Closure in Seven Easy Steps. The Seven Steps to Closure follows Tara on her sometimes disastrous- always hilarious - path to achieve the seemingly impossible. A credible and amazingly touching debut novel from Donna Joy Usher, this is a solid, light-hearted and honest read with plenty of laughs.
Excerpt: The Seven Steps to Closure Excerpt
I was 15 minutes early for my rendezvous with Matt and was admiring the Gateway when I saw him approaching me. My adrenaline rush went into overdrive at the sight of him. Christ, how was I going to appear even slightly normal with these emotions crashing around inside my body? I felt like a teenager with her first crush and was sure I was about to behave like one as well. Then, as I was schooling my face to what I hoped was a pleasantly-surprised-to-see-you-here-so-early-how-are-you-going-expression, he was in front of me.
'Hi,' he said.
'Hi yourself,' I responded, inwardly groaning. I hoped I wasn't going to keep repeating what he said right back at him. I read once that men liked that. It makes them feel important or something. I had a feeling it would just make me look like a moron.
'Been here long?'
Ooooh Yeah. This was going to be bad. I shifted nervously from one foot to the other and wiped my sweaty palms on my camouflage pants. Finally I broke.
'I'm sorry,' I garbled embarrassed. ‘I sound like an idiot but I am, for some reason, absurdly nervous. I think it has something to do with the cab drive.'
'The cab drive?'
'Yeah, the guy tried to rip me off and it made me angry. Now I'm all emotional.'
He burst out laughing. 'If that’s the worst thing that happens to you while you’re in India you’re doing well. Have you eaten?'
'No.’ My stomach chose that second to let out a huge grumble. ‘I’m hungry,’ I admitted laughing.
'Come on let’s go to the Taj Mahal Palace and have a high tea. My treat.'
He led me to a beautiful old building overlooking the Bay. 'This is the Taj Palace. It was built by a local man in the early 1900's after he was refused entrance to one of the European hotels.'
'Wow. Egging the hotel in the middle of the night would have done it for me.'
'Yeah or a brick through a window,' he said laughing.
We joined a queue of people passing through the security at the front of the hotel. First, we walked through a metal detector, which appeared to be beeping at everybody. I paused waiting to be searched but was waved on by the security guards who seemed unconcerned and a little bored.
'Maybe they think if it doesn't beep there's something wrong,' I whispered to Matt.
Then they wiped each of us down with a small swab of material, which I can only assume was part of a bomb-sniffing machine. I looked around for the machine thinking this was going to take an awfully long time if they tested each one of us, but they seemed to have forgotten it. I noticed a pile of swabs lying discarded on a table and watched in amusement as another one was added.
'What are they going to do with them?' I asked Matt.
'Nothing,' he said, 'that’s it.'
'You’re kidding, right?' I asked as he shepherded me through the front door.
'Bureaucracy gone mad. Unfortunately nobody seems to have ever explained the equipment to them. I was having a chat to some of the locals out the front. Two weeks ago they found a bomb in front of the Gateway and waited so long for the police to turn up that in the end one of the locals disarmed it. I guess that's why they've added the security precautions.'
Noticing the alarm on my face he stopped. 'Sorry. I've scared you.'
I nodded nervously.
'Tara, I'm sure there is nothing to worry about. Come on - let’s get something to eat. You'll feel better then.' He led me past the reception and down the hallway to an elevator. I paused before stepping in and looked at him. 'It's all right,' he said, holding a hand out to me. I looked at his hand and then reaching out, gripped it and stepped into the elevator. I figured I could spend my whole life worrying about things that would probably never happen or I could just get on with it.
REVIEW RATING: 4 LIGHTNING BOLTS
Review: There's been a time for every one of us that we haven't had closure from an event in our lives. It happens. We're human. This is Tara's story.
Where do you turn for advice? When your world is nearly crashing down? For Tara, she follows a magazine article, and it takes her on a journey of self discovery, highs and lows, and a way to learn to find closure. Tara's character is very believable. In many ways, I can relate to her, which made it easy for me to read this story with a knowing nod. Also, there's so many moments that I laughed out loud. Written in a witty manner, The Seven Steps to Closure is a great fiction novel about getting over your past, letting go, and starting again. The writing is good, the pacing is great, and the characters really have heightened emotions. Great job, Ms. Usher!
Born in Brisbane, I started my working life as a dentist. After 15 years of drilling and filling I discovered there was more to life, and put pen to paper. Now I drill by day and write by night.
When not doing either of those things I like spending time with my husband and two little dogs, fishing and camping, motorbike riding, traveling, drinking wine on my deck and eating chocolate. Last year I ran my first half marathon and took up paddle boarding.
I have lived in a myriad of places: Melbourne, Perth, England, Rockhampton, Roxby Downs, Sydney, Cairns and am now situated on the New South Wales Central Coast.
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