This review appears on page 32 of the November 2013 issue of Buckhaven Lifestyle magazine and page 26 of the November 2013 issue of Perimeter North Lifestyle magazine
Title: Someone Else's Love Story
Author: Joshilyn Jackson
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: November 19, 2013
Number of Pages: 352
How I Got It: Edelweiss
Summary (author's website):
At twenty-one, Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Natty, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced Catholic mother and Jewish father. She’s got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up in a gas station mini-mart and falling in love with a great wall of a man named William Ashe, who willingly steps between the armed robber and her son.
Shandi doesn’t know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: It’s been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his universe. But William doesn’t define destiny the way other people do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in science and numbers, destiny to him is about choice.
Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, in a funny, charming, and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness,; about a virgin birth, a sacrifice, and a resurrection; about falling in love, and learning that things aren’t always what they seem—or what we hope they will be. It’s a novel about discovering what we want and ultimately finding what we need.
Joshilyn Jackson possesses an addictive storytelling style that will crack you up with a southern turn of phrase, rip your heart out, and then shock you with a climax so unexpected that you find your self flipping pages with your mouth hung open in shock. Readers find that when they get a taste of her stories, they quickly scramble to get their hands on everything she has written. Epitomizing modern Southern fiction (with a heavy dose of gothic,) Jackson turns tales of skeletons (real and metaphorical), and family feuds into layered pieces of art. She's spanned such topics as: racial discrimination (gods in Alabama,) domestic battery (Backseat Saints,) ghosts and mother's intuition (The Girl Who Stopped Swimming,) baby bones and a family secret (A Grown Up Kind of Pretty,) divided towns and a stolen baby (Between, Georgia.)
Jackson delivers another knock-out novel filled with deception, family members with motives, and the mystery of an immaculate conception with Someone Else's Love Story. The stress of commuting between Lumpkin County and Georgia State is finally being lightened for Shandi. Her father and "Step-Refrigerator" have offered her their Atlanta condo so she can finish college and her three year old son, Natty, can be enrolled in a school that can cater to his high intelligence. Shandi, her best friend since childhood, Walcott, Natty, and all her belongings are south bound on their move into the city when they are detoured by a bout of carsickness. Pulling into a Circle K Walcott fills the tank while Shandi and Natty go inside for a ginger ale. What should be a simple stop changes everyone's life forever when the gas station is targeted for a hold up.
"I fell in love with William Ashe at gunpoint, in a Circle K. It was a Friday afternoon at the tail end of a Georgia summer so ungodly hot the air felt like it had all been boiled red. We were both staring down the barrel of an ancient, creaky .32 that could kill us just as dead as a really nice gun could...That afternoon in the Circle K, I deserved to know, right off, that I had landed bang in the middle of a love story. Especially since it wasn't--it isn't--it could never be my own."
William grieves for his lost wife and child in his own ways and just like Shandi has Walcott, he has Paula. As the title suggests, Someone Else's Love Story is full of complicated, twisted, and intertwined relationships that are not what they appear on the surface. Jackson's incomparable unbraiding and reweaving of a story results in another wonderful example of how she gives new definitons to home, love and family.
Be sure to grab a copy of Someone Else's Love Story when it releases on November 19th.
***Jackson says that some characters hang around and have more to say after she finishes a novel. Just as one of her previous characters, Rose Mae Lolly carried over from gods in Alabama to Backseat Saints, a character from Someone Else's Love Story is the inspiration for Jackson's next novel.***
*** I received this novel in exchange for an honest review ***