Hardcover, 320 pages
I fell in love with William Ashe at gunpoint, in a Circle KFor 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.
In Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson Shandi Pierce and her three year old son, Natty, are moving to Atlanta where they will live in her dad's condo while Shandi finishes college. Her best friend, Walcott, is helping her move. At a Circle K convenience store right outside the metro area, Shandi and Natty get stuck in the middle of an armed robbery and become hostages. Shandi immediately falls in love with another hostage, a huge blond Thor-like geneticist named William Ashe, when he puts himself between Natty and the robber. William and Shandi end up needing assistance from each other, but it is clear that friends of the two disapprove. Walcott tries to convey his disappointment in Shandi's choices and Shandi is locking horns with William's best friend, Paula.
Someone Else's Love Story is narrated by Shandi and William. While Shandi can be very emotional, it is clear, even before it is confirmed, that William is on the spectrum (Asperger's) and remains emotionally detached. Seemingly these two would be a good match, but something is not quite right. William has issues in his past that are unresolved and unknown to Shandi, but the same can be said of her.
Joshilyn Jackson is one of the best southern writers around today, in my opinion, and continues to impress me more and more with each book she writes. (I think I need to start praying for her health so she'll be writing books for a long time.) All of her characters feel like real people. Each of them has a head full of secret thoughts that keeps them apart even while their hearts want to connect to someone or something. In this case a near tragedy draws Shandi to William, but at the same time Shandi needs William to do something only he can do for her.
In Someone Else's Love Story she has created a real sense of time and place and then populated her world with characters that are easy to empathize with. I wanted everything to work out, somehow, for everyone in this book. This isn't a conventional love story, though, even if it seems it might be. Jackson has a few twists and turns for the reader. She sends us through those twists and turns with a good dose of humor and heart, faith and redemption, and family. This is a book that you will stay up too late reading and not regret it for a moment.
Even though I had an advanced reading copy, I simply must share two quotes. (Let's be clear, if I can't stop myself from quoting an ARC, you know the writing is incredible - and it is that good.)
"Anniversaries can open up old wounds, he'd said.... William is not a fan of metaphors; they are so often inaccurate. William, the priest should have said, anniversaries are just like being vivisected."(pg 64)
"It was an ugly thing to witness. Betrayal is always ugly, even on a shaded patio full of little birds." (pg. 205)
Very Highly Recommended
Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from HarperCollins for review purposes.