My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 6 hours
Publisher - Penguin Books (UK)
Blurb from NetGalley
One single mum.
One chaotic family.
One handsome stranger.
One unexpected love story.
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We open up the tale with Jess & Natalie, Jess is our main character, well one of them, and Natalie as they go about their job, cleaning. They are chatting and giving the reader an insight into Jess's life. The next few chapters bring in Tanzie, Ed and Nicky, each chapter has a name underneath the chapter so you know which person it is coming from or focusing on. The view point alternates between first and third person, this is done with ease though and actually adds to the joy of the story.
Jess is struggling to make ends meet, her husband is trying to sort himself out at his mothers whilst Jess keeps the home, finance and kids going. Working herself to the bone with two jobs, lack of time with the kids and money worries she still manages to maintain a positive outlook. When she gets an opportunity for Tanzie to better her life she will do anything she can to make it work.
Ed is our other big character, he has money, homes, cars and everything a geek could ask for. When his life and routine come to a halt whilst he is investigated and everything he knows is at risk, he meets someone in their hour of need. What follows is a journey that will highlight strengths and weaknesses in each of them and force them to question their chosen paths in life.
Oh.My.God I love this book! I thought after Me Before You I wouldn't be able to 5 star another book by this author as it was their peak book. I was wrong, although this is a totally different kind of book it stirred up a lot of the same responses as Me Before You. Gasping out loud (always a tad mortified when this happens, especially if people are around), smiling, laughter and tears, everything a great book should do. The ARC I got is 436 pages, I devoured it in 6 hours and it would have been quicker but I had to do some housework in between. I was loath to put it down, I couldn't wait to find out where it was going, what else would come to light and how it played out for the characters. When I read the first few chapters, I wasn't convinced I was going to love it as I thought there might be too many characters. There are 4 centered ones, Ed & Jess are your big characters and Nicky and Tanzie feature heavily too (as well as their daft dog Norman) but as I said, the chapters are titled with their names and it is really easy to follow.
I didn't want it to end, I loved the characters and think there is someone for everyone to relate to. If not someone then at least one of the situations. The book covers a host of issues, single mum struggling to make ends meet, misfit kids, the misconception and judgments people make on each other, betrayal, honesty, love and loyalty to name but a few.
I try not to do big long reviews but I could talk about this book for ages. Sadly it isn't out to buy until the 27th of February 2014 which is a bit of a wait but it will be worth it. I will be buying at least two copies as gifts and maybe even one for a keeper. Thanks so much to NetGalley for listing this and to Penguin Books (UK) for approving my request for a review copy. All thoughts are honest and my own.