Book of the Week

Book Review

One Last Love book cover

By Mary Crocco:
They took ‘it’s never too late’ to a whole new level!

A beautifully written love story with a message of tolerance is what Derek Haines brings to his readers. His main character, Bonnie, as he likes to be called, is transferred from a hospital to a hospice to live out his last days. It’s here that he sheds his grumpy old bastard reputation and his prejudices with a little help from another patient, Madeleine, his unexpected last love.

Bonnie shares his last days with patients he held strong opinions about in life, to name just a few; a homosexual, a typical teenager he would never have related to, and a pompous ‘prat’. All contributed to changing Bonnie’s lifelong perceptions. His awakening, being in the last days of his life, may not have made any impact except for a last minute mea culpa, but Derek tells the story in such a way that you will be forced to think about your own attitudes.

Bonnie’s life wasn’t a barrel of laughs; he had crosses to bear, like many of us. A bad marriage which ended in a suicide, bad relationships, and losing his son at age 11. He hid his insecurities by being brash, but as Madeleine says, “Everyone knows you’ve got a soft centre under that grumpy crust of yours.”

I recommend One Last Love for those who enjoy a thought provoking romantic story with subliminal messages. For Bonnie, he experienced an epiphany in his last days of life. Along with that, he fell in love, perhaps the truest love in his life. If not for Madeleine and his new friends, he would have died alone.

I was left with one final message in One Last Love. Don’t be afraid to be open-minded and let people in. One shouldn’t wait for companionship and love until the last days of your life, even if unexpected as was the case with Bonnie and Madeleine. They took ‘it’s never too late’ to a whole new level!

Derek Haines, as always, brings his characters to life. Each one will captivate your heart. Readers will truly enjoy meeting Bonnie and his last minute friends who change his life if only for a few days.

***

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ONE LAST LOVE
by
Derek Haines

Excerpt

Chapter One: The End

‘So, this is it then?’
‘I’m afraid so Bonnie. There’s nothing more we can do except keep you as comfortable as possible.’
‘You’ll just drug me up to the gills you mean.’
‘Well, without the medication you’d be in considerable pain.’
‘So how long then?’
‘Days. A couple of weeks perhaps.’
‘Not the best news I’ve had today Doc.’
‘I’m sure it’s not, but you’ve always asked me to be up front with you. I wish I could give you a better prognosis.’
‘And to think, I first came to see you just because I had a sore back and thought I’d pulled a muscle,’ he half laughed. ‘Been all downhill since then, hasn’t it?’
‘When was that? Must be what, six years?’
‘Yeah, about that I s’pose. It was just after the missus passed away. I moved up here for a change of scenery. Must’ve picked up this bloody cancer thing on the bus trip. It was full of bloody hippies from god knows where. Thought they looked a bit contagious at the time.’
‘I think you had it well before the bus trip,’ Doctor Phillips smiled. He liked Bonnie and although the prognosis had been grim from shortly after the very first time he had met him, he had admired his sense of humour through what had been very difficult years of treatment.
‘Geezz, you reckon I might’ve given it to those poor young hippie bastards then?’
‘Luckily cancer isn’t contagious. I think you can rest easy on that one.’
‘Ah, I can drop off the perch with a clear conscience then?’
‘Look Bonnie, we’d like to move you from here to somewhere more comfortable,’ Phillips said bringing the conversation back to the second reason why he had come to see Bonnie.
‘A hospice I suppose?’
‘Yes. I think it would be best, if you agree.’
‘Need to free up a hospital bed quick smart then hey Doc? Got ‘em queued up in the corridors again?’
‘At least your sense of humour is still working.’
‘About all that is huh?’ he said with only a half a smile before pausing. ‘So looks like it’s time for me to check in to a Dead End Hotel and do a bit of waiting for god.’
‘You do have a way with words. But if you like I can arrange for a clergyman to visit.’
‘Oh Christ no. It was just something I saw on the telly. Waiting for God was a TV show. Funny as hell it was,’ Bonnie started to say but a coughing fit interrupted him. ‘All about a bunch of old farts in a nursing home,’ he finally managed to say.
‘Oh I remember it now you mention it. English program, wasn’t it?’
‘That’s right. There was this old fella always on the lookout for condoms. Use to laugh s…’ he said before another coughing fit.
‘But if you feel the need for someone to talk to, or anything like that though, just ask. Ok?’
‘No worries Doc.’
‘Do you have any questions?’
‘Apart from why the hell me, probably not. I know you’ve done your best for me Doc. But hell, I’m seventy-eight, so not a bad innings for a smoker, drinker and bacon lover.’
‘Well, if you think of anything.’
‘Ok. So when do I move house?’
‘Probably tomorrow afternoon or the morning after.’
‘So I’m waiting for a vacancy then. As one goes out the door…..,’ Bonnie started to say but another bad coughing fit robbed him of any more words.
‘I’ll come again and check on you tomorrow morning. Just get some rest now,’ Phillips said and turned to leave with the nurse. ‘I’ll need to change his medication,’ he said as he walked away with her...

 

Author Bio

Derek Haines is an author of genre fiction, essays and poetry. His works range from historical fiction with Louis, to The Glothic Tales, a trilogy of science fiction farce, to dark contemporary romance, including One Last Love, Dead Men and For The Love Of Sam. His satirical essays and novellas such as My Take Away Vampire and An Uneducated View of Sex, Food and Politics then clearly fall into the tongue in cheek genre.

His passion for writing started with poetry before moving into essays and then later, genre fiction. Although his works cover a wide range of settings and genres, his writing style and voice communicate with, and engage readers through his characters, who are always less than perfect, yet have an endearing appeal.

Derek Haines

Most of all, the stories told by Derek Haines are about people and their feelings, regrets, hopes and struggles with life, love and sometimes calamity. His characters never take the classic hero and heroine form Just ordinary people, but with extraordinary qualities that makes their story worth telling. With splashes of black humour and satire, his stories can develop from the simplistic to the complex and back again, leaving the reader to decide if it is time to laugh or cry. Or both.

Born in Australia, but now living in Switzerland with his wife and a black cocker spaniel, his stories cross a wide geographical range but often draw from elements of his life and experiences in the two countries he calls home. From the rugged, dry and hot desert country of Australia and its crowded cities, to the cafés of Europe and the peaks of the Swiss Alps. The hustle and bustle of Sydney to the quiet life in the Swiss countryside.

When not writing, he is usually doing what he equally enjoys. Teaching English.

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