This tender, introspective romance from Friedland (Trouble the Water) hangs on the difficult choice between new and old lovers. Junior lawyer Meredith Altman is happily engaged to pediatric surgeon Aaron Rapp when, while contemplating wedding venues in New York City, she runs into her ex-fiancé, Wesley Latner. Their encounter triggers romantic memories of the life they dreamed of having before their wedding was upended by personal tragedy. Meredith’s emotions are further muddled when Wesley tells her he’s been diagnosed with ALS. As Meredith struggles to understand her feelings for both men, she also begins to doubt her unfulfilling role in the corporate world and questions what she really wants from life. Friedland teases readers with Meredith’s choice between partners, managing to make her indecision and self-doubt both humorous and endearing. Hints about the actual reason Wesley and Meredith broke up in the first place will keep readers turning the pages. Friedland’s treatment of Wesley’s ALS is duly respectful and well done, and Meredith’s desire to care for him is palpable. Fans of sensitively handled love triangles should snap this one up. (Apr)
2020 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Winner in Romance (Fiction)
“Exploring the messy concept of closure, this is a charmingly witty novel that fans of Emily Belden's Hot Mess (2019) and J. Ryan Stradal's The Lager Queen of Minnesota (2019) will eat up.”
“In That's Not a Thing, Friedland has created a delightful and generous novel about the type of love that never leaves us and the people we hope to become in the aftermath.”
Laura Dave, international best-selling author of Eight Hundred Grapes
“An open-hearted lawyer is forced to choose between her fiance and her dying ex in Friedland’s novel about love and forgiveness...A complex and compelling romance...”
“This tender, introspective romance from Friedland hangs on the difficult choice between new and old lovers...Fans of sensitively handled love triangles should snap this one up.”
“In life’s journey, there are many types of love we encounter along the wayfirst love, rebound love, the one-who-got-away love, 'B'sherit' (soulmate) love, and conflict love (the one in your bed, the one in your head) . . . Friedland, with her fabulous descriptions and compelling characters, presents a little bit of everything in this emotionally-gripping tale that examines love, loss, loyalty, what ifs, what is, and ultimately, forgiveness. Protagonist Meredith Altman is my kinda girlcomplicated, inspiring, and richly-drawn. That's Not a Thing has the unputdownable Jojo Moyes 'It Factor' that keeps those pages turning and burning bright ... long after lights-out.”
Lisa Barr, award-winning author of The Unbreakables
“Fun, flirty and fabulous...I devoured this read!”
Stephanie Evanovich, New York Times best-selling author of Big Girl Panties and The Sweet Spot
“Friedland's That’s Not a Thing is an unputdownable tale of old love meets new. Heartrending and evocative, this beautifully woven story captures the deep-seated emotions we carrythose of guilt, forgiveness, and what it means to be there for those we love. Friedland's sharp writing and emotional depth will leave you turning the pages, ending with a satisfying, albeit bittersweet conclusion.”
Rochelle Weinstein, USA Today best-selling author of This Is Not How It Ends
“Jacqueline Friedland is at the top of her game with this wholly engrossing page-turner about the complexities of love, loss, and loyalty. With richly drawn characters and a gripping plot, That’s Not a Thing is undoubtedly THE thing to pack in your beach bag or pick for your book club. Friedland has done it againanother must-read!”
Amy Blumenfeld, award-winning author of The Cast
“Fans of Jojo Moyes and Karma Brown will simply love Jacqueline Friedland's romantic, poignant novel, That's Not A Thing. In this dramatic and insightful story, Friedland explores tragedy, true love, and life's many 'what ifs'.”
Amy Poeppel, author of Limelight and Small Admissions
“Fans of Emily Giffin will love this romantic novel . . .”
Betches, 20 Books to Read in 2020
In Friedland's second novel (after Trouble the Water), the future of her protagonist, Meredith Altman, could hardly look brighter. The Columbia grad and high-caliber junior lawyer is living in Manhattan and engaged to pediatric neurosurgeon Aaron Rapp, who also happens to be a kind and sexy hunk. Meredith is convinced she is over her college boyfriend, Wesley Latner, to whom she had also been engaged until tragedy intervened and split them apart. She hasn't seen him in years when she unknowingly books a reservation at the hip new restaurant he started in TriBeCa. She's shocked to see him and even more so by her reaction to him. After he tells her he is gravely ill, things get complicated as Meredith and Aaron try to do the right thing by helping Wesley, and Meredith tries to decide who she truly wants to be and the man she wants to be with. VERDICT This new adult story with real-life trials, tragedies, and struggles features bromidic characters who don't derail a complex plot. Fans of Jojo Moyes and Jennifer Weiner should enjoy.—Nancy H. Fontaine, Norwich P.L., VT
An open-hearted lawyer is forced to choose between her fiance and her dying ex in Friedland’s (Trouble the Water, 2018) novel about love and forgiveness.
Meredith Altman is a successful Jewish attorney living in Manhattan and planning a wedding to handsome Aaron Rapp, a pediatric surgeon. However, in 2017, a celebratory dinner with friends changes everything: The Tribeca restaurant’s chef and owner is Wesley Latner, Meredith’s ex-fiance, whom she hasn’t seen in five years. Old feelings resurface in the form of flashbacks to their young love and Wesley’s unwavering support for Meredith’s tenuous family situation, which had her parents on the verge of divorce before her mother’s cancer diagnosis. Years later, to escape from the stress of the plans for their son’s wedding, Wesley’s parents set out on a vacation and were killed in a plane crash, causing a grief-stricken Wesley to blame Meredith for their deaths before he moved to London. Now that she’s engaged to another man, Meredith seeks closure before Wesley drops a bomb: He’s been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS, and his body is rapidly deteriorating. Without consulting Aaron, Meredith invites Wesley to move into the apartment they share, and one intimate moment between Meredith and Wesley threatens Meredith’s relationship with her fiance as well as her sense of self. Can Aaron forgive Meredith for her slip, or is the dying Wesley the one Meredith was meant to be with all along? Friedland’s sharp prose and plotting make Meredith’s dilemma a relatable one: The pull between past and present can be difficult even when a debilitating illness isn’t part of the mix. But Friedland keeps the reader guessing about what Meredith will do—not only about her romantic partners, but also about her career as a lawyer who caters mainly to big tobacco companies. Unfortunately, the development of Meredith’s character often gets lost as she seeks to care for others: her parents, her future in-laws, the former and current men in her life. Though her do-gooder spirit is firmly established, not much else of Meredith’s personality is.
A complex and compelling romance with an underdeveloped heroine.