Last Call at the Local

Berkley. Jan. 2024. 368p. ISBN 9780593549063. pap. $17. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Raine Hart, wandering American busker and medical-school dropout, finds herself the victim of theft in Cobh, Ireland, but she happens to land exactly where she’s meant to be at the Local, an outdated pub that should be more lively given the town’s tourism. Bartender and co-owner Jack learns of Raine’s misfortune and shows her the famous Irish hospitality by offering her a job and a place to stay. Jack struggles with OCD and worries about burdening his family with his intrusive thoughts. Raine, living with ADHD, knows the strain of dealing with the ups and downs of mental illness and isn’t fazed by Jack’s anxiety. They’ll have to overcome the odds of their budding attraction when Raine gets the itch to continue exploring and traveling while Jack must stay put. Some readers may wish there were more romantic scenes, but overall, they’ll enjoy this heartfelt story.
VERDICT Ruiz (Luck and Last Resorts) writes sensitively about two people trying to thrive amid personal issues and the relief one feels in finding a kindred soul.
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