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Publisher's Summary

"Do you want to read something funny? Let’s say, a novel set at a divorce ranch in Reno in the 1930s? A book with memorably eccentric characters, sparkling dialogue, a satisfying plot twist, and some romance and sex? A feel-good literary comedy/western? Here it is, then, the book you've been looking for: Julia Claiborne Johnson’s Better Luck Next Time." (Julie Schumacher, author of Dear Committee Members and The Shakespeare Requirement)

The long anticipated second novel from the best-selling author of Be Frank with Me, a charming story of endings, new beginnings, and the complexities and complications of friendship and love, set in late 1930s Reno.

It’s 1938, and women seeking a quick, no-questions split from their husbands head to the “divorce capital of the world”, Reno, Nevada. There’s one catch: They have to wait six weeks to become “residents”. Many of these wealthy, soon-to-be divorcees flock to the Flying Leap, a dude ranch that caters to their every need. 

Twenty-four-year-old Ward spent one year at Yale before his family lost everything in the Great Depression; now he’s earning an honest living as a ranch hand at the Flying Leap. Admired for his dashing good looks - “Cary Grant in cowboy boots” - Ward thinks he’s got the Flying Leap’s clients all figured out. But two new guests are about to upend everything he thinks he knows: Nina, a St. Louis heiress and amateur pilot back for her third divorce, and Emily, whose bravest moment in life was leaving her cheating husband back in San Francisco and driving herself to Reno. 

A novel about divorce, marriage, and everything that comes in between (money, class, ambition, and opportunity), Better Luck Next Time is a hilarious yet poignant examination of the ways friendship can save us, love can destroy us, and the family we create can be stronger than the family from which we come.

©2021 Julia Claiborne Johnson (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • cathlyn foss
  • 10-02-2021

Fun during a pandemic!

Just the perfect fun story and light hearted humor I needed!! What a wonderful read!

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  • Donna T
  • 06-02-2021

Just the best

I fell in love with Ward. The characters were well developed and there was a big twist at the end. I was truly sad when this book ended. I would listen to a sequel in a heartbeat. It would have to be narrated by David Baker. it wouldn’t be the same without him

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  • Dawn
  • 31-01-2021

Fun escapism

This was a fun read (listen). If you’re looking for something light, but with a bit of substance, this is a good choice. It’s told in a sort of first person narrative, and the story is engaging, but doesn’t require too much thought. Interesting twist at the end. I really enjoyed it.

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  • katie duncan
  • 24-01-2021

Really enjoyed this book!

The narrator is great. This is a really sweet book full of funny and interesting characters.

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  • Walt
  • 24-01-2021

Brilliant weaving of hilarity and heartache

It's 1938. Erstwhile divorcees arrive at the Flying Leap Ranch in Reno to establish the requisite six weeks residency for quicky divorces and meet young Ward, the heart throb Southerner cum cowboy. Hilarity ensues. But all the laughs out loud travel on the surface of tender feelings, tender hearts, broken hearts, and broken dreams in the one man tale told by Ward to an interviewer decades later. While Ward is the only one speaking, his narrative reveals the story largely in the dialogue he recounts amongst the main characters. The repartee keeps the energy flowing, the pace spontaneous, and the hearts of the characters on their sleeves.
I had read another book narrated by David Aaron Baker whose voice did not seem to suit that story and did not appeal to me then. This time, however, my hat is off to the publisher who selected him. He voices the 74 year old Ward perfectly. I hope he wins the Audie following in the footsteps of Tavia Gilbert who won for Julia Claiborne Johnson's debut home run, Be Frank with Me.

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  • Stephanie Epps
  • 21-01-2021

There is no story....

This book has tons of character development. At least, 250 pages, in fact. Only 20 pages actually contains ANYTHING happening....I wish I had my credit back. The narrator is fabulous and a single bright spot.

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