Now that may seem like an oxymoron but there are novels I loved until I got to the ending. But the journey was so intriguing I still count some of those books as favorites. I’m going to mention a couple without giving the story or plot away—just simply state the book was a great read in spite of the ending.
The first novel that comes to mind is House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier. It’s a time travel and the inspiration for my future time travel stories featuring Dr. M.M. (Lynnie) Tiger, whose first time travel adventure occurred in a short story in my YA book The Happy Tigers. House on the Strand was a book I couldn’t put down. And although the protagonist was able to go back into the past by taking a drug, my protagonist will go back by touching ancient artifacts. The ending, however, was a downer but the fact I couldn’t put the book down until I got to the end still puts it in my all-time favorites list.
Another novel I loved until the ending was Sullivan’s Sting by Lawrence Sanders. This was a fun read all the way through until I got to the ending., which was a great disappointment but I still gave the book an A+. Sanders wrote some series that were fabulous (and I always looked forward to the sandwiches one of his protagonists ate). Other novels by him were great disappointments all the way through. Sullivan’s Sting was a fun read but, for me, the ending fizzled.
On an opposite note, I have read novels I hated until I got to the end where the ending was so good it made up for the rest of the novel. One novel that comes to mind is The Children of Men by P.D. James whose Dalgleish mysteries I love. But this is a stand a lone. For me the first half was beyond depressing but the ending more than made up for the rest of the book. It was even made into an award winning movie.
And in regard to my own writing, my novel Who’ll Kill Agnes? has an unexpected and not so happy ending. There were a few miniscule clues along the way but I doubt any reader saw that ending coming. In fact, I, as the writer, didn’t see it coming until I got to the end.