Better Luck Next Time By Kate Hilton: Book's Review and Summary

Better-Luck-Next-Time-by-Kate-Hilton - Scotiabank Giller Prize

Better Luck Next Time: A Critique

The Scotiabank Giller Prize nominated novel, Better Luck Next Time, written by Kate Hilton, is a masterfully crafted and poignant tale of love and loss, set against the backdrop of Las Vegas in the 1950s. Hilton takes the reader on a journey through time, as she explores the lives of two women, Vivienne and June, who work as divorce ranch hostesses, helping wealthy men obtain quick divorces in the era when such a thing was difficult to obtain.

Hilton’s engaging style of writing makes the characters come to life, immersing the reader in the world she has created. Better Luck Next Time is a story of resilience, love, and redemption, and Hilton’s portrayal of Vivienne and June is both heart-warming and heart-rending.

Themes and Ideas

The main theme in Better Luck Next Time, is the resilience of the human spirit. The novel explores the women’s unwavering determination to carry on, even when the odds are stacked against them, and how they find strength in each other through their shared experiences.

The novel also explores the idea of independence and empowerment, in a time when society views women as second-class citizens. Hilton’s portrayal of Vivienne and June defies traditional gender roles, as they take charge of their lives, earning their own money and living on their own terms.

Critical Evaluation

Hilton’s writing style in Better Luck Next Time is both engaging and lyrical, making the characters come to life on the page. The story is well-paced, with the author seamlessly weaving in historical details of the era, which makes the setting feel authentic.

The author’s portrayal of the two protagonists, Vivienne and June, is both nuanced and empathetic. The vividly drawn characters and their struggles are depicted in a way that makes the reader care deeply about their fates.

The dialogue in Better Luck Next Time is also noteworthy, as it captures the rhythm and vernacular of the era, yet remains relevant and accessible to a contemporary reader.

Strengths and Weaknesses

One of the book’s strengths is the way the author handles the complex relationship between Vivienne and June. The bond between the two women is both palpable and inspiring, and the reader can feel the strength and depth of their connection.

The book’s weakness, however, is that some of the secondary characters are not as well-developed as the two protagonists. While they serve the plot well, they do not resonate with the reader in the same way as Vivienne and June.

Better Luck Next Time is an exceptional novel that stands out in the genre of historical fiction. Hilton’s masterful handling of complex themes, characters, and setting makes this novel a must-read for anyone interested in delving into an emotionally rich and satisfying work of literature.

Recommendation and Conclusion

Overall, Better Luck Next Time is an outstanding novel that engages and captivates the reader. The lyrical writing, well-drawn characters, and depiction of the era make it an exceptional work of historical fiction. It is a story of friendship, love and redemption, and is a must-read for anyone looking for an emotionally fulfilling read.


Q: Can you describe the setting of Better Luck Next Time?

A: Better Luck Next Time is set in Las Vegas in the 1950s, a time when divorce proceedings were difficult and time-consuming. The novel is set in the backdrop of the divorce ranches, where wealthy men could obtain a quick divorce, and where Vivienne and June work as hostesses.

Q: Can I expect any twists or turns in the plot?

A: Yes, the novel has several unexpected twists and turns, including a surprise ending that will leave the reader reeling. Hilton masterfully weaves suspense throughout the narrative, keeping the reader captivated until the very end.

Q: Is Better Luck Next Time a character-driven or plot-driven novel?

A: Better Luck Next Time is mainly a character-driven novel, with the author focusing on the complex relationships between Vivienne and June, as well as their individual struggles. The plot serves the characters, and not the other way around.

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