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Vince and Joy
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Vince and Joy

4.5 6
by Lisa Jewell

Remember falling in love for the first time? Remember thinking, This is The One? Remember life getting in the way? From adolescent snogging to apartment shares, relationships, career crises, and children, Vince & Joy is the unforgettable story of two lives lived separately but forever entwined.

Back in the 1980s, teenagers Vince and Joy met, fell


Remember falling in love for the first time? Remember thinking, This is The One? Remember life getting in the way? From adolescent snogging to apartment shares, relationships, career crises, and children, Vince & Joy is the unforgettable story of two lives lived separately but forever entwined.

Back in the 1980s, teenagers Vince and Joy met, fell desperately in love, and never quite said good-bye. Now nearly twenty years later they've both begun to ask themselves if that long-ago romance was the enduring love that they've been searching for.

Editorial Reviews

The Sun
“An unforgettable sweet summer story of two lives that are lived separately—but forever entwined.”
Daily Telegraph (London)
“I read the first three-pages—and that was it. I was off, like a bloodhound…It gobbles you up whole.”
Birmingham Post
“Well-written, engrossing popular fiction, pack this one in your suitcase—you won’t be sorry.”
Entertainment Weekly
“Ridiculously readable. A-”
Publishers Weekly
Vince Mellon and Joy Downer meet as late-blooming teenagers on a beach vacation, and lose their virginity to one another, then reunite as adults kept apart by bad timing and miscommunication in the winning fourth novel by British bestseller Jewell (A Friend of the Family; Thirtynothing). The first misstep occurs when Joy's vacation is cut short, and the goodbye note (including her contact information) she leaves for Vince outside his window is rendered illegible by the elements. Seven years later, Vince's roommate's wandering cat finds its way to Joy's apartment, which miraculously happens to be around the corner. Too bad for Vince that Joy is about to get married, albeit to a man she isn't attracted to. The narrative takes flight at this point, as Jewell weaves a history of Vince and Joy settling for the wrong people-Vince has a child with a woman who cheats on him, Joy's marriage fails-before fate intervenes one last time. Jewell's lively prose and amusing observations ("They talked about sex like two dieters circling a pile of profiteroles") effortlessly guide the story toward a satisfying ending. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Two teenage misfits meet when their families rent side-by-side vacation caravans on the English seaside. Vince has just recovered from major reconstructive surgery, going from a geek with an underbite to a handsome young man who doesn't quite realize just how good looking he's become. Joy, recently released from the hospital after a nervous breakdown, is shy and unsure about what love means. They instantly connect and end up losing their virginity to each other. When Joy and her family disappear the next day, Vince is heartbroken, convinced he will never find another soul mate. Fast-forward 20 years, and a series of misunderstandings and could-have-beens prevent them from finding true love again. Joy gets married, Vince becomes a father, but neither feels fulfilled. Eventually, it takes Joy's drag-queen friend and Vince's psychic roommate and her cat to reconnect the pair. But is it finally their time to be together? Jewell's (Ralph's Party) fifth novel is high on Britspeak and local flavor, which may appeal to some readers but confuse others. Recommended for larger fiction collections or where modern British authors are popular. Rebecca Vnuk, River Forest P.L., IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
British author Jewell's fifth novel (after A Friend of the Family, 2003, etc.) is a deliciously addictive read filled with London oddballs, horrid husbands and romantic destiny. Thirty-five year old Vince is sitting in a kitchen with friends, fresh from the demise of his marriage to wild-child Jess, when the conversation veers to the first time each had sex. Amid tales of awkward fumbling and comic disappointment comes Vince's recollection of Joy. They met as misfit teenagers at a third-rate beach resort-their parents' rented trailers stood side by side-and the two, Joy beautifully fragile despite the army surplus shorts, Vince ruggedly handsome, experienced something close to love at first sight. After much hand-holding and a youthful baring of souls, Vince and Joy have a perfect night of sex in a field, and then through a series of miscommunications, the two are separated for another 17 years. What ensues is mundane life-dreary, disappointing, occasionally brilliant, most often just ordinary, as Vince and Joy attempt to navigate relationships all wrong for them. With a dead-end job and nursing a slightly bruised heart, Joy responds to a personal ad for a man described as handsome. He is not. But accountant George is rather sweet and interesting and enjoys the nightly spliff. And though Joy is not attracted to him in the least, the two begin a pallid romance that leads to a miserable marriage. Meanwhile, Vince has paired up with Jess, a free spirit who's just a bit too free for Vince's taste, what with the partying, the ex-boyfriends hanging about and the drug use, with an infant at home. Through the years, Vince and Joy's paths have crisscrossed, but always at the worst possible time,delaying the inevitable, fated true love. Can Jewell sustain 500 pages of suspense until our lovers reconnect? Can a reader survive this much romantic pudding? Oh, yeah. With wit and well-rendered characters, the author fills her story with keen observations about real life and the possibility of real love.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
8.02(w) x 4.82(h) x 1.23(d)

Read an Excerpt

Vince and Joy

A Novel
By Lisa Jewell

Harper Paperbacks

Copyright © 2006 Lisa Jewell
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-06-113746-4

Chapter One

Vince threw his bag on to the bottom level of the stale-smelling bunks, pulled apart the papery curtains painted with ugly brushstroke daisies, and saw her for the first time.

She sat in a deck chair, her knees brought up to her chin, holding a magazine in her right hand while she picked absent-mindedly at black-painted toenails with the other. Her hair was dark brown and to her jaw, with a slight curl that kicked it across her cheeks like wood shavings. She wore all black-a sleeveless vest, oversized army surplus shorts, a frayed canvas ribbon in her hair.

'Vince-give me a hand with the gas, mate.' Chris popped his head around the cream melamine door and winked at him.

'Yeah. In a minute.' Vince turned back to the window and lifted the curtain again.

She was turning a page and rearranging her neat limbs. She fiddled with a small silver cross on a leather thong that hung around her neck and curled her toes around the frame of the deck chair.

Bang, bang, bang.

A hairy fist thumping at the window disturbed his reverie.

'Come on, mate.' Chris's face loomed into view.

'Yeah. OK.' Vince let the curtain drop, and straightened up.


There was a beautiful girl. In the caravan next door. Where for the previous four years there had been three boys, two Staffordshire bull terriers and a couple called Geoff and Dianefrom Lincolnshire. He stared at his reflection for a minute in the mirror above the gas fire in the living area. He was thrown. He hadn't factored the possibility of a beautiful girl into the prospect of two-weeks-on-a-caravan-site-in-Hunstanton. There'd never been a beautiful girl here before. Just an ugly girl. An ugly girl called Carol with an even uglier mate called Theresa who threw poorly phrased insults at him, then tried to get off with the sinewy guys who strode across the moving platforms of the Waltzers on Hunstanton pier, pretending to fancy ugly girls as they spun them masochistically in painted cups.

When Vince first came to Hunstanton with Chris and his mum, there'd been other kids of his age to hang out with. They'd gang together and mooch around the fairground, even went to a nightclub once. But as the years passed, they stopped coming. They stayed at home to hang out with their mates or their girlfriends, or they went on holiday with friends to places you needed a passport to get to. Even ugly Carol and Theresa seemed to have something better to do with their summer this year, evidenced by the drawn curtains of their caravan across the way.

Outside, Vince could hear Chris making friendly conversation with the mysterious girl. Fearing that he was missing out on something or, worse still, that Chris was embarrassing him in some way, he pulled his hands through his James Dean hair, ran a fingertip across the angry red scars beneath his jaw line and headed outside.

'Just outside London,' Chris was saying, 'Enfield. What about you?'

'Colchester,' she said, sliding the silver cross back and forth across the leather thong. 'You know, in Essex?'

'Aye,' said Chris, 'I know Colchester. Oh, look who it is.' He turned to look at Vince. 'Vince,' he said, 'come and meet our new neighbour. This is Joy.'

She was even more beautiful close up. Her skin was alabaster white, but there was something about her features that suggested something far-flung. Her nose was small and chiselled, and her cheekbones were set high in her face, but it was her eyes that held clues to the uncommon. Compact and wide-set, flat-lidded and framed with dense, dark lashes-the eyes of a painted china doll.

'Hi,' he said, smiling his new, stiff smile.

'Hiya,' she said, resting her magazine on her lap and sitting on her hands.

He noticed her eyes stray to the scars on his jaw, and turned his hands into fists to stop them wandering protectively towards his face.

'So,' she said, 'are you two mates?'

Vince looked at Chris in mock horror. 'God, no,' he said, 'Chris is my stepdad.'

'Really? How come?'

'Well, he married my mum.' He and Chris exchanged a look and laughed.

'Oh, right. Of course. Just you look kind of the same age.'

'Yeah-everyone says that. Chris is ten years older than me, though. He's twenty-nine. I'm nearly nineteen.'

'Right,' she said, looking from one to the other, almost as if doubting their story. 'And where's your wife? Your mum?'

'She's at the Spar,' said Chris, hauling the gas canister out of the little wooden cupboard and blowing some cobwebs off it. 'Getting us some tea. Should be back in a minute. Oh, talk of the devil, here she is.'

Kirsty's green Mini pulled up alongside the caravan and came to a halt with a crunch of gravel under rubber.

'Give us a hand, you two,' she said, heading for the boot.

Chris instantly dropped the canister and went to his wife's assistance. Vince nodded at Joy and rubbed at his scars.

'God, is that your mum?' said Joy.


'She's gorgeous.'

Vince turned, expecting to see Beatrice Dalle or someone standing there, but, no, it was just his mother.

'How old is she? She doesn't look old enough to have a son your age.'

'Thirty-seven, I think. Thirty-eight. Something like that.'

'Bloody hell. She's younger than my mum was when she had me.'

They both stared at Vince's mum for a while, and Vince tried to think of something to say. This was officially the longest dialogue he'd ever exchanged with a girl who wasn't either in his class or going out with one of his mates, and the conversation felt like a flighty shuttlecock he was trying to keep in the air with the force of his will alone. He wanted to ask her something interesting. Something about music maybe, or ...


Excerpted from Vince and Joy by Lisa Jewell Copyright © 2006 by Lisa Jewell. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Lisa Jewell is the author of six novels, including Ralph's Party and Vince and Joy. Born and raised in north London, she lives there still with her husband and children.

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Vince and Joy 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
DayDreamer44 More than 1 year ago
This book is easy to read, i think i read it in 2 days and its abou 400 pages... but it just catches your attention and you really begin to care about the characters and what happens to them. it starts out with two characters in their teens and then follows them as they age and how their lives intertwine. it is a very enjoyable read and i would reccommend it to anyone!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book,although through out the whole entire book you just want Vince and Joy to be together...But the ending was happy, even thought i didn't want it to end... there needs to be a sequel to this book!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have you ever wondered what happened to your first love? Have you ever wondered if you missed the one and only destined soul mate for you in life? Have you ever run into that first special person and wondered if your dull, miserable, or boring life could have, would have, should have been more fulfilling and meaningful? Then you will really enjoy reading VINCE AND JOY by Lisa Jewell. During a family vacation, at the beach, teens, Vince and Joy, fell into that forever remembered first love. After a couple days of finding that everything that they said and thought together were just so similar, comforting, and thrilling, they enjoyed a beautiful first experience of explored sexual love Then the next morning Vince found that Joy, and her family, were unexpectedly gone. All he had was a rain blurred note from Joy that made no sense to him. Off and on, as the years pass, these two find themselves becoming connected in strange ways that seem to mean that destiny really meant for them to be together. This story is a fun, romantic, coincidental, unexpected, and new read about two people who were definitely love/soul mates but needed friends, family and fate to push them together almost 20 years after they first found their love for each other.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In England thirty-something year old friends were discussing the time they lost their virginity. Vince explains that he was nineteen years old when he met eighteen years old Joy seventeen years ago in 1986 at the Hunstantan camp site. His stepfather Cliff pushed them together and they eventually made love. The next morning, she and her parents were gone a note that he concluded was a Dear John letter was left behind, but most of the writing washed away in the rain. The only clear statement is ¿I am so ashamed¿, which he assumed meant about their lovemaking.--------------- Years later Cliff mentioned that he had to beat up Joy¿s dad because the punk was fondling his wife, Vince¿s mother, over her objections. Vince realizes that Joy was not embarrassed by them but by her dad. As he searches for her, he has good and bad luck he finds her, but she is marrying someone else. Though he has married and divorced and has a child he loves, Vince believes Joy is the only one for him and destiny has failed him once more.------------- This is an interesting contemporary romance starring two likable protagonists who fall in love at first sight, but fate seems to dictate they stay apart though they meet up several times over the next two decades or so. The story line is mostly told from the perspective of the lead male as he tells his tale of love discovered, love lost, love re-found, love re-lost, etc. Because this is a deep British character study, some of the vernacular will seem strange to the American audience, but sub-genre fans will still find joy in Vince¿s fine jewel of a story.---------------------------- Harriet Klausner