Published by: William Morrow
Published on: November 19, 2013
Page Count: 320
My Reading Format: ARC sent to me by the publisher for consideration
Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, and Audiobook
Summary from the Publisher:
I fell in love with William Ashe at gunpoint, in a Circle K
For single mom Shandi Pierce, life is a juggling act. She’s finishing college; raising her delightful three-year-old genius son, Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo; and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced Christian mother and Jewish father. She’s got enough to deal with before she gets caught in the middle of a stickup in a gas station mini-mart and falls in love with a great wall of a man named William Ashe, who steps between the armed robber and her son to shield the child from danger.
Shandi doesn’t know that her blond god has his own baggage. When he looked down the barrel of the gun in the gas station he believed it was destiny: it’s been exactly one year 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, William and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head-on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.
Someone Else’s Love Story is Joshilyn Jackson’s funny, charming, and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness; about falling in love and learning that things aren’t always what they seem—or what we hope they will be. It’s a story about discovering what we want and ultimately finding what we need.
I love Joshilyn Jackson. I read her again for the first time since gods in Alabama was released earlier this year when I listened to A Grown Up Kind of Pretty. I loved it and didn’t hesitate to request her latest novel, Someone Else’s Love Story. As A Grown Up Kind of Pretty was the first read-a-long with my online book club, the Hashtags, it felt right that Someone Else’s Love Story be our December selection. What a breath of fresh air it was for me. This last part of 2013 has been such a reading wasteland. It was so nice to pick up a book and not want to put it down. I immediately connected with Shandi’s voice. We are nothing alike, but I was impressed with her determination to be a good mother to her young, gifted son Natty. I also enjoyed her relationship with her lifelong friend Walcott. The three of them are traveling to Atlanta, where Shandi will pick up her college education while providing better for Natty’s education. They stop along the drive at a convenience store. Inside, Shandi is immediately smitten with an older man she sees entranced with laundry detergent. When that convenience store is robbed by a drug addict, William, the attractive, Thor-like man, keeps them safe. This experience changes them both, making them reevaluate their lives and honestly look at their past.
I loved the way Jackson turns her phrases and the way her characters look at life. The story flowed off the pages into my eager reader’s brain. While there were aspects of the story that were uncomfortable, I couldn’t have left the book even if I wanted to. I was fully invested. I looked forward to the discussion with the rest of the Hashtags because finally I finished the book we selected and I loved it. I had expected all of us to adore it just as much as we did A Grown Up Kind of Pretty. I was surprised to find myself in the minority. Several of my fellow Hashtags have read all or most of Jackson’s backlist. To them, this book felt less Southern and was different from her other novels. I haven’t read enough of her catalog to really compare. They also didn’t connect as well to the characters as they expected, especially Shandi. I agreed with how odd Shandi’s “immaculate conception” felt at the beginning of the story, but I saw it for a coping mechanism. While I may have been one of the lone voices crying out in defense of Shandi, balanced discussions with equally passionate readers is always rewarding.
Our discussion deepened my thoughts about the book. It didn’t change the way I felt. To me, Someone Else’s Love Story was a home run. I adored this book and was both fulfilled and sad when it ended. I appreciated Shandi’s love and commitment for Natty despite the circumstances and I admired her spirit. William had his own struggles and I felt I learned about the way other people experienced life when I read his story. I recommend this book whole-heartedly.