2 June 2016
Book Review: Always with Love by Giovanna Fletcher
But when she and Billy take a trip to visit his family in Los Angeles, she quickly discovers she's totally unprepared for the chaos of Hollywood, the paparazzi and Billy's controlling mother.
And when Billy extends his stay in LA, leaving Sophie to fly home to Rosefont Hill alone, it seems there's more than just miles between them.
Now Sophie must decide if they can overcome their differences for good. Because not every love story lasts the distance . . ."
I have been so excited for Giovanna Fletcher's latest book, because it marks the return of her character Billy and Sophie from her debut novel Billy and Me, which I really loved! It was nice that a few years later we could catch up with these characters and see if they had been able to make their romance work against the odds, so I eagerly got stuck in to the copy I gratefully received from Netgalley! It was a wonderful catch up, and here's why I think Always with Love is a summer must-read!
Now, you don't have to have read Billy and Me to enjoy this one, but of course it really helps to have the back story on how the two got together, and what happened at the beginning of their relationship. Some of the important points are recapped in this, but I would personally recommend you go and read the first book before you begin this one! Billy and Sophie are still together, and Sophie thinks she is coping well with her boyfriend's fame, especially when the two jet over to LA to meet the Buskin family. But when a new job opportunity comes up for Billy that he can't refuse, Sophie knows she's going to have to jet back home alone, and learn to live without Billy for a while. They've never had to cope long-distance for an extended period of time, and Sophie is nervous about how their relationship is going to work. Will they be able to make it through, and stay always in love?
What I really liked about this book was the realism of it. It wasn't a fairytale - Sophie didn't suddenly court fame, and enjoy everything that comes with that. In fact, she's likes being anonymous, running her cake shop in her home village, and living a quiet life with Billy, and she thought that was what he wanted too. When it seems he's going to start living in the public eye again thanks to a new job, the pair have their struggles, and begin to wonder if they can make it work. I liked that they found it hard, that they struggled with the separation and the anxiety of Sophie in worrying about leaving Billy back in LA was believable, most of us would be exactly the same, and I feel Giovanna has hit the emotional nail on the head in this book.
Giovanna's story-telling is wonderful, and I really enjoyed the pace of the book and how it all unfolded. The scenes in LA were fun to read, it sounded glorious and Billy's home in LA sounded just wonderful, you can see why he loves being there, and why Sophie fell in love with the house! It was great to meet the Buskin family as well, and see a different side to Billy with his family. The slight awkwardness of Sophie as she meets them all for the first time simply endeared me to her, she behaved exactly as any one of us reading the book would do! I also loved the contrast of Billy and Sophie's life in LA to that back home in England, where the pair work in her shop, and live a pretty "normal" life.
Some of my favourite scenes in the book actually involved Sophie's mum finding a second chance at happiness, and all that that entailed. Some of these scenes actually left me with a tear in my eye, and showed that we can find happiness at any age, and that the door doesn't always close when one relationship ends, for whatever reason. Giovanna wrote these scenes perfectly, capturing the emotion, and the love behind them all, and they left me with a huge smile on my face, as did the rest of the book really! The book was a joy from start to finish, and I absolutely loved catching up with these characters, to see if their love has stood the test of the obstacles in front of them, and hardships still to come. A true love story, and a wonderful read. I can't wait for Giovanna's next book now!