21 December 2016
Book Review: The Trouble with Henry and Zoe by Andy Jones
After jilting his childhood sweetheart on the eve of their wedding in the small town where they both grew up, Henry runs away to London, planning to reinvent himself and start afresh.
Zoe has her own healing to do and so she plans to leave London, travel the world, and figure out just what it is she wants out of life. She doesn't know where she's going, but she is determined to go there alone.
If Henry and Zoe had met one year ago, perhaps things could have worked out differently. But that's not the way it works; they meet seven months after their worlds have been turned upside down. And four months before Zoe is due to climb on a plane..."
This was an intriguing book from the beginning. I have to confess. I have read Andy Jones' debut novel which I thoroughly enjoyed, and was pleased when I was sent his second book to review from his publishers. The storyline sounded interesting, and once I began reading, I enjoyed what I read. Whilst the story was enjoyable and I liked what I read, I was left wholly unsatisfied as the book plodded on to its conclusion, and finished feeling a bit deflated if I'm honest, which was a shame as the rest of the story seemed so promising.
The first thing I have to say about Henry and Zoe is that I just didn't feel like there was a lot of chemistry between them if I'm honest. I really disliked Henry from the beginning thanks to his actions, and it took quite a large bit of the book for him to redeem himself, and even then, I wasn't sure it was for the right reasons. Zoe on the other hand, I did feel sorry for. Her circumstances were entirely out of her control and although some of the things she said felt wrong and a bit out of place, her situation was sad and I did sympathise with her.
The writing style is good, and the narrative flits between Henry and Zoe, giving us both character's opinions on the situation, as well as a chance to see their lives through their eyes, and of course each other's too. The book moves at a good pace, moving on quickly from the events at the beginning of the book, but not shying away from dealing with the fallout, especially from what Henry did, and the lasting effect it had on his family also. Jones was easily able to tap into both character's perspectives, both male and female, and I felt he tackled the emotional issues of the book really well, and didn't shy away from the more emotional scenes in the book either.
As I mentioned, my main problem was with the ending, and what happened there, which is a shame as I became quite invested in the novel throughout the book, and was hoping for a definitive ending. However, I just felt it didn't deliver and for me, the ending fell flat. I don't know about you, but I liked my books to come to a complete ending, where I feel I can leave the characters behind in their world, with their story all finished. I didn't get that feeling here, I felt Henry and Zoe had more to do, and were being left behind by the ending of the book.
Overall, this was an enjoyable story and I enjoyed Andy Jones' writing, the pace of the book and the characters. The whole thing felt very realistic, with people not necessarily behaving how they perhaps should do, and going through their own troubles, and dealing with them in different ways. Maybe it was just me who was unsatisfied by the end, but other than that, I really enjoyed the read. I'll definitely be looking forward to reading more from Andy Jones.