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The Last Resort: Book summary and reviews of The Last Resort by Marissa Stapley

The Last Resort

by Marissa Stapley

The Last Resort by Marissa Stapley X
The Last Resort by Marissa Stapley
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2019
    368 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

The Harmony Resort promises hope for struggling marriages. Run by celebrity power couple Drs. Miles and Grace Markell, the "last resort" offers a chance for partners to repair their relationships in a luxurious setting on the gorgeous Mayan Riviera.

Johanna and Ben have a marriage that looks perfect on the surface, but in reality, they don't know each other at all. Shell and Colin fight constantly: after all, Colin is a workaholic, and Shell always comes second to his job as an executive at a powerful mining company. But what has really torn them apart is too devastating to talk about. When both couples begin Harmony's intensive therapy program, it becomes clear that Harmony is not all it seems—and neither are Miles and Grace themselves. What are they hiding, and what price will these couples pay for finding out?

As a deadly tropical storm descends on the coast, trapping the hosts and the guests on the resort, secrets are revealed, loyalties are tested and not one single person—or their marriage—will remain unchanged by what follows.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Emotionally powerful and finely wrought." - Publishers Weekly

"A charming tale with an enchanting setting, Stapley's latest (after Mating for Life, 2014) is an engaging read about keeping secrets, starting over, and loving the family you choose." - Booklist

"I enjoyed Things to Do When It's Raining enormously. A lovely book full of emotion and wisdom." - Marian Keyes, bestselling author of The Break

"Fans of Nicholas Sparks will adore Things to Do When It's Raining...Marissa Stapley's writing is a gift." - Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan's Tale

"Things to Do When It's Raining has heart and soul and guts, and it has achingly beautiful prose and characters so dear and real I couldn't bear to say goodbye when I reached its final page. It's a book about friendship and secrets, grief and regret, the peculiar shape of families and the redemptive nature of love. And it is, quite frankly, one of the best books I have read in a very long time." - Jennifer Robson, internationally bestselling author of Somewhere in France and After the War is Over

"Profound and intimate, raw and real, Things to Do When It's Raining is hard to put down. Loved the ending but hated to have it end!" - Nan Rossiter, New York Times bestselling author of Firefly Summer

"Regrets, secrets, and hidden longings swirl beneath the surface of this beautifully atmospheric story of love found, lost, and rediscovered. I couldn't stop reading." - Shelley Noble, New York Times bestselling author of The Beach at Painter's Cove

"Written with compassion and insight, Things to Do When It's Raining is a truly captivating novel with exquisite prose and moments of bittersweet tenderness." - Nicola Moriarty, author of The Fifth Letter

"Marissa Stapley's Things to Do When It's Raining packs a serious punch. It's a tightly-woven story that beautifully illustrates how tragedy and human weakness can cause heartbreaking ripples for years and generations to come." - K.A. Tucker, USA TODAY Bestselling Author of He Will Be My Ruin

"Things to Do When It's Raining is the complex and moving saga of a non-traditional family with deep bonds and even deeper secrets. Set against the idyllic background of a far-flung seaside town, the finely-drawn characters of this novel test the limits of friendship, love, and forgiveness. A story that lingers long after the final page is turned." - Andrea Dunlop, author of Losing the Light

"A generous book about imperfect people, a novel about the family we choose, the mistakes we make, and how love, flawed and searching and messy, is the only path to forgiveness. It's also a gorgeously written page-turner, and when I finished it, I flipped right back to page one to savor it just a little bit more." - Lauren Fox, author of Days of Awe

"Marissa Stapley's Things to Do When It's Raining is evocative, wise and infused with heart. A deeply moving story about family, love and loss, it shows how secrets can either haunt us or set us free, depending on who we trust them with. One of my favorite books this year!" – Karma Brown, bestselling author of Come Away With Me

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Reader Reviews

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Cloggie Downunder

a fairly entertaining read.
The Last Resort is the third novel by best-selling American author, Marissa Stapley. Located on the Mayan Riviera in Mexico, the Harmony Resort is touted as the last resort for failing marriages. Celebrity therapist Dr Miles Markell and his wife Grace and their team at the luxury resort repair marriages, a dozen couples at a time. It takes just two weeks. Their own marriage is, of course, perfect.

The reader knows, though, from the first pages, that after Hurricane Christine has passed through the area, Miles is missing, with grave fears held for his safety. Trouble in paradise, indeed! But before all that, the couples, with all their problems and quirks and secrets, arrive: alcoholic Shell Williams and her workaholic husband, Colin; social worker Johanna Haines and her District Attorney husband, Ben Reid. The other eight couples, nameless and featureless in the background.

From vague hints drip-fed into the narrative, the reader gradually learns what crippling secrets (and there are quite a few) these three couples are holding, and how their lives have been affected, until things build to an explosive climax, concurrent with a category four hurricane making things wet and wild.

It’s quite clever of Stapley to situate her resort in Mexico where the (accredited?) therapists are able to be unprofessional, unethical and inappropriate without oversight from any professional body; and where clients can be made to sign a (legal? binding?) contract with some surprise conditions. What does become quickly clear is that all the therapists are as much in need of therapy as the clients they are treating.

Nonetheless, the credibility is stretched: would DA Ben really sign a contract with no more than a cursory glance? Would two therapists and one intern dealing with twelve couples actually have time for all those dramatics and dummy spits? Certainly, the Haines/Reid and Williams couples seem to be getting more than their share of attention.

Stapley’s characters are perhaps a little stereotypical: a predator and some enablers; the sexually repressed, the grieving, the traumatised, the weak, the guilty; lots of angst there. Some are immediately detestable; others eventually evoke some sympathy.

Stapley uses multiple formats besides the conventional narrative to convey the story: blog, email, therapy session transcript, book excerpt and flashback. The very neat resolution is undeniably Agatha Christie inspired. Get past the slow start, suspend disbelief and it’s a fairly entertaining read.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Allen & Unwin.

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Author Information

Marissa Stapley

Marissa Stapley is a journalist and the author of the acclaimed novel Things to Do When It's Raining. She writes page-turning, deeply emotional fiction about families, friends and women's lives. Visit her at marissastapley.com or follow her on Twitter, @marissastapley.

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