That Morning After is a cautionary tale, one of a woman whose entire life has been subject to the vagaries of fate: a dysfunctional family, an abusive marriage, self-esteem more noted by its absence, and a deep, abiding sense of loneliness even when the main character, Vickie, decides to take a modicum of control over her life.
The problem with taking control is that the choices one makes are often crucial. Without the background, or that all too important matter of self-esteem and positive experiences, history can and does repeat itself.
Vickie takes a chance on online dating services and finds a measure of self-actualization in the mild banter and flirting. It also leads to some obsessive-compulsive behaviors and unrealistic expectations. And it leads directly to a predator, though not the kind one would normally expect under such circumstances.
Vicky is skillfully manipulated into believing her ‘suitor’ might have amorous feelings for her, and even though her trust-meter is clanging off the wall, she does the unthinkable: she agrees to a meeting.
And not just lunch and a quick escape to a cab if it all goes south. Instead she meets the elusive suitor at his villa, and… as they say, things don’t go as planned.
What emerges is a new Vickie, some might say ‘improved’, but then that’s really a matter of perspective. What it does is set her on a whole new path and ‘that morning after’ is really just ‘that morning before’.
Criticisms: the narrative was heavily laden with Vicky’s POV, in a stream of consciousness that really called out for narrative interludes to relieve the unrelenting strains of woe-is-me (and yes, she had plenty of reasons for that ‘woe’) that resembled a ‘list’ rather than a compelling story. There were some ‘editing challenges’ (typos, missing words, odd tense changes).
That being said, there’s enough here to hold the reader’s attention, and certainly enough to garner sympathy for Vicky (and avoid the death knell of the ‘too dumb to live’ heroine).
The story ends at the beginning, and if you read the book, you will understand why.
This is a nice effort and has promise for the next installment. 4 stars
(reviewed 19 days after purchase)