Title: Someone Else’s Love Story
Author: Joshilyn Jackson
No. of Pages: 320
Origins: William Morrow and Company
Release Date: 19 November 2013
Bottom Line: Perfection
“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.”
Thoughts: Ms. Jackson is the queen of Southern fiction. However, Someone Else’s Love Story veers away from the more specifically Southern elements. While the action occurs in the heart of Dixie, Shandi and William are universal characters. Nothing about them or that happens to them is unique to their location. Rather, the story just happens to unfold in Georgia but could just as easily have occurred anywhere else around the country. What happens to them could have happened to a family member, a friend, or a neighbor. This generic quality only serves to make Shandi and William that much more enjoyable and sympathetic because no longer are they strictly a product of their environment.
As for what happens to them, Ms. Jackson finds multiple ways to rip out a reader’s heart and stomp it to pieces. Just when one begins to recover and hope for a happy resolution, she rips it out and steps on it again and yet again. While a reader may be an emotional mess because of all the drama, both Shandi and William show a strength and fortitude that is breathtaking in its focus and simplicity. One can only marvel at the way they both move forward out of the depths of tragedy, taking those elements of life they most desperately want and shrugging off the rest. Their individual quirks will make a reader fall in love with them; their determination will make readers bow to their grace under pressure and superior humanness.
To share any more about the novel would be to spoil a simply beautiful story about love and forgiveness, dreams and reality, and the battles that ensue to obtain it all. Ms. Jackson brings her trademark wit to soften some of the harsher edges of her story, while she outdoes herself in the creation of an entire cast of extremely realistic and vibrant characters. All of them are thoroughly enjoyable and feel like long-lost friends rather than words on a page. With her cast in place, Ms. Jackson draws a reader into her world from the stellar opening sentence and does not let go. Long after finishing the novel, readers will still be thinking about Shandi and William and their search for happiness and love.
Someone Else’s Love Story is written perfection. It has all the tragedy, love, and humor as one would expect from Ms. Jackson. What sets this novel apart from her previous ones is her characters. Shandi is so tough and yet so fragile, while William earns his own place in a reader’s heart with his unique approach to life. Beautifully scripted, Ms. Jackson’s newest novel takes readers on an emotional roller coaster and leaves them with that wonderful, much-sought reader’s high.