Today I’m delighted to be able to share with you my review of Love Them and Leave Them by Sue Shepherd as part of the blog tour.
The Official Book Blurb
Love Them and Leave Them: Sometimes you have to leave the one you love … sometimes you’re the one who’s left behind. The new heart-warming and heart-breaking romantic comedy from the No.1 bestselling author of Doesn’t Everyone Have a Secret?
On his way home, Ed makes a split-second decision that changes the lives of all those who love him.
Six years on, Ed’s daughter, Jessie, is stuck in a job with no prospects, her dreams never fulfilled. It will take more than her unreliable boyfriend, Chris, and temperamental best friend, Coco, to give her the confidence to get her life back on track.
But what if Ed had made another decision? It could all have been so different …
Six years on, Ed’s daughter, Jessica, has a successful career, loving boyfriend, Nick, and a keen eye on her dream home. But when new clients, a temperamental Coco, and her unreliable boyfriend, Chris, walk into her life, Jessica’s perfect world soon starts to unravel.
Love Them and Leave Them is a story of love, families, friendship and a world of possibilities. Whichever decision Ed makes, the same people are destined to come into his daughter’s life, sometimes in delightfully different ways. And before they can look forward to the future, they will all have to deal with the mistakes of the past.
If you’ve ever seen the move Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah, then you’ll have a little bit of an idea of how the structure of this book works. Life is made up of a series of decisions. Which ever one you take, often made in a split second with or without thought for the consequence, will have an impact upon your future. Some decisions are small, inconsequential, like whether to have porridge or weetabix for breakfast. Other decisions are huge, impacting not only your life but the life of those around you. That is very much the case in Love Them and Leave Them. When Jessie’s father Ed is forced into making a last minute decision whilst out driving, no-one, especially Ed, can imagine the impact he will have on the life of his loved ones.
The story follows two potential outcomes. In the first thread, Ed arrives home safely, life carries on as normal and we follow Jessie, or Jessica as she is known to her family, as she builds a successful career as a Barrister. When Ed makes a different decision, life for his family will never be the same again and of all of them, it is Jessie that seems to suffer the most.
It is a very interesting premise and intriguing to see the way in which the author brings together all of the characters, their lives intersecting in different ways throughout the two elements of the story. It flows pretty well and, mainly due to the different names Jessie/Jessica goes by, it’s quite easy to follow and pick up which thread of the story you are going through at which time. That said, it may have been a little easier if the chapters had been labelled Jessie/Jessica as it did take a couple of sentences to get back into the action. Not a major issue, just a small personal observation.
The characters are all very well developed but it is interesting to read a book set out in this way, as depending on which story I was reading, I found my feelings towards them varied greatly. Perhaps it was because on one thread a certain character would feature more or less than in the other, and perhaps, because of how the stories unfolded their characters were thrown into different scenario’s, painting them in a completely way. I’ve got to be honest, I liked down to earth Jessie a lot more than Barrister Jessica, and the same can be said for the people around her. Maybe it was circumstance that changed her, but she was, if a little naive, much nicer than her alter ego.
The story is highly credible; one of love, loss, betrayal and forgiveness, and there are some really tender moments throughout. As to which thread is more satisfying, which of Jessie/Jessica’s stories has the better ending? Well you really have to read it to decide for yourself. Is it a promise of a HEA that turns your head, or the idea that a character finds new perspective and goes on a personal journey of growth that will appeal? Either way, the book has a little bit of something for everyone. There were moments in the book when I kind of wanted to slap some of the characters, their behaviour and decision making beggared belief, but ultimately it was a very satisfying read, one I was able to easily lose myself in, a great balance of mild suspense and comedy throughout.
A thoroughly satisfying 4.5 stars.
My thanks to the author Sur Shepherd for the copy of Love Them and Leave Them and to Emma Mitchell for inviting me to join the blog tour. The book is available to purchase now from the following links:
For the opportunity to win one of two signed copies of Love Them and Leave Them, you can enter the competition here.
About the Author
Sue Shepherd writes contemporary romance and enjoys creating novels with heart, laughs and naughtiness. She doesn’t pull any punches when choosing her subjects, but manages to handle her characters’ challenging situations with sensitivity and humour. Her debut novel, Doesn’t Everyone Have a Secret? was published by Corazon Books in March 2015. It reached the top 10 UK Kindle chart, and also topped the romantic comedy, contemporary romance and humour charts. It became available in paperback on Amazon in November 2015.
Sue’s second novel, Love Them and Leave Them, was published in September 2016.
Sue lives on the picturesque Isle of Wight with her husband, two sons and a standard poodle. Her passions in life are: her family, writing, the sea-side and all the beautiful purple things her sons have bought her over the years. Ask Sue to plan too far in advance and you’ll give her the heebie-jeebies and she’d prefer you not to mention Christmas until at least November!
Make sure to join one of the other fab tour hosts this week: