“I read the first three-pages—and that was it. I was off, like a bloodhound…It gobbles you up whole.”
“Well-written, engrossing popular fiction, pack this one in your suitcase—you won’t be sorry.”
“Ridiculously readable. A-”
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.
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.
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.