Book Reviews, Romance

BOOK REVIEW: The Seven Steps to Closure (Donna Joy Usher)

Discover Romantic Rajasthan with Tara and Matt. After their one night stand that was part of her practice of the Seven Steps to Closure from ex-husband Jake, Tara and Matt are rediscovering each other. A terrorist attack in Mumbai only draws them closer.

I just read the Seven Steps to Closure, the book that helped me discover Australian author Donna Joy Usher, for the fourth time, the first three being after my purchase a year or more ago. She has a new release coming out soon, so I decided to re-read this one in the meantime. It takes me a day or two to consume like a Bee Sting Cake, for which I wish Donna had included a recipe, since I’ve never had the pleasure. Unfortunately, a genuine bee sting brings Tara and Matt a bit closer, as well.


‘Polly want a crackhead. Polly want a crackhead.’

The voice, more piercing than any alarm, dragged me from my slumber.

‘Who’s a pretty boy?’

I peered blurrily at my bedside table. What time was it? What day was it? Snapshots of the night before flashed before my eyes. Dancing on a table?Surely not.

‘Mary had a little lesbian.’

Harrumphing in annoyance I lifted my head and pummelled my pillow into a more comfortable shape. My efforts were rewarded with a spinning head and an urge to throw up.

Ahhh crap. I had a killer hangover.What did I get up to last night? I concentrated hard and finally more flashes of memory assaulted me – bad karaoke, skolling wine out of a bottle, falling over in a bar, telling complete strangers how my husband had left me, and finally being taken home in a taxi while I sobbed uncontrollably.

I groaned in shame.

‘The money’s on the dresser.’

Rolling my eyes, I turned my attention to the problem at hand. It was really no surprise Cocky had ended up at the animal shelter where my mother volunteered, but I was still perplexed as to why she’d given him to me.

‘He talks,’ she’d advised when she’d dropped him off. ‘It’ll do you good to have some proper company.’

‘Show us your knockers.’

It begged the question: just how sad did she think I’d become if this was proper company?

Gingerly, I swung my legs out of bed and sat with my head between my knees as I made my plan. A quick dash across the lounge to the toilet, ten or so minutes of puking my heart out, and then I could deal with the bird.

He waited until I was almost at the bathroom. ‘You’ve got a fat arse.’

I spun menacingly towards the cage.

‘Nice tits though.’

‘Thanks,’ I said, automatically looking down. I stopped and sighed, realising there was a chance that the cockatiel’s compliment was the nicest thing that would happen to me that day. I had obviously reached a low point in my life.

I looked at Cocky bobbing up and down on his perch, obviously very pleased with himself. ‘What am I going to do with you?’ I asked. I was glaring into his beady eyes – determined to outstare him, when all of a sudden a hot sweat and waves of nausea washed over me. Breaking eye contact I rushed to the toilet just in time to relieve the contents of my stomach in a terribly undignified manner. I heard his cackles echoing around the lounge room and into the bathroom where I lay panting on the floor, tears rolling down my face.

Quarter of an hour later, my face pressed to the cold floor tiles, I considered my options. I couldn’t give him to anyone. I couldn’t kill him – I mean really, I couldn’t.

‘Mary had a little lesbian.’

I’d have to let him go. There was no other option.

Tara is Calamity Jane, which provides many of the humorous situations, which also prove to be tests of Matt’s love and Jake’s lack thereof. Fortunately for Tara, her family and friends always stand ready to rally round her when they can. It’s when they can’t that the men get tested. This delicious combination of unfortunate events makes for some lovely storytelling by the most romantic-hearted woman dentist I’ve never actually met, but would enjoy running into someday at ReaderCon or some such event.

I particularly appreciate the manner in which the main character grows through life situations common to us all: dating, breaking up, internal chatter, workaday life, meetups with friends and family, holiday shopping, deciding how much to tell whom and how about one’s love life and living single in the face of the ex’s remarriage and friends’ pairing off. Imagine an Indian elevator alarm that repeatedly plays “The Wedding March” just outside the door while you’re trying to get some rest on holiday. There’s no escape from life, love and the pursuit of happiness for Tara in the Seven Steps to Closure.


Buy The Seven Steps to Closure at Amazon.

Follow Donna Joy Usher on Amazon, and Twitter.

Belinda Y. Hughes is the author of Confessions of a Red Hot Veggie Lover 2 and Living Proof. She recently submitted a paranormal scifi short story to HDWP Books for consideration in their New Myths Theme-Thology. Her current projects include LGBT erotica and poetry. Belinda enjoys beading, reading, writing, cooking and hiking in the woods with her old dog.

Follow Belinda on Facebook and Twitter.


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