Monday, 12 November 2018

You Me Everything

Author: Catherine Isaac
Genre: Women's Fiction
Type: e-book
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK
First Published: Nov 13, 2018
First Line: "Sometimes life takes the best and worst it has to offer and throws the whole lot at you on the same day."

Book Description from GoodReads: Set in the French countryside on an idyllic summer vacation, a delicious, tender novel about finding joy and love even I the most unexpected places. 

Jess and her ten-year-old son William set off to spend the summer at Ch√Ęteau de Roussignol, deep in the rich, sunlit hills of the Dordogne. There, Jess’s ex-boyfriend—and William’s father—Adam, runs a beautiful hotel in a restored castle. Lush gardens, a gorgeous pool, delectable French food, and a seemingly never-ending wine list—what’s not to like? Jess is bowled over by what Adam has accomplished, but she’s in France for a much more urgent reason: to make Adam fall in love with his own son.

But Adam has other ideas, and another girlfriend—and he doesn’t seem inclined to change the habits of a lifetime just because Jess and William have appeared on the scene. Jess isn’t surprised, but William—who has quickly come to idolize his father—wants nothing more than to spend time with him. But Jess can’t allow Adam to let their son down—because she is tormented by a secret of her own, one that nobody—especially William—must discover.

By turns heartwrenching and hopeful, You Me Everything is a novel about one woman's fierce determination to grab hold of the family she has and never let go, and a romantic story as heady as a crisp Sancerre on a summer day.

My Rating: 4.5 stars

This book took me by surprise. I started off thinking this was a typical Women's Fiction read but as the book progressed, and the layers of Jess' life came together, it became more of an emotional read that highlights the fact that life and relationships aren't always black and white. I simply loved it.

Jess and her ex-boyfriend Adam have had a complicated, tumultuous relationship - especially since the birth of their now 10-year-old son, William. When her life situation suddenly changes, Jess decides to bury the hatchet with Adam and give him and his son time to reconnect as they spend several weeks at Adam's hotel in southern France with a group of their friends.

Isaac's writing is compelling and her descriptions of France's culture, language, scenery and cuisine will have readers booking trips to France toute de suite! But the book isn't all croissants, old cheese and castles. It deals with several issues (alcoholism, illness, complicated family dynamics and changing relationships) and while some were handled in more detail than others, all were compelling, genuinely portrayed and thankfully didn't venture into melodrama. The story contains darker moments but Isaac balances it out with humourous bits many of which come from Jess' endearing, ragtag support system.

Even though the plot itself is fairly predictable and didn't quite get as emotional as I was expecting, I still found it to be compelling. I enjoyed how Isaac slowly divulged the details of Jess' struggles by including bits from her past to fill in the blanks for readers. This kept me glued to the pages and I ended up finishing this book in a couple of days.

Readers will become invested in Jess' emotional, sometimes funny and quite endearing journey. It's a perfect read for people who liked Jojo Moyes' Me Before You. If you enjoy good drama, well fleshed out characters and a plot where family secrets are slowly revealed, then put this book on your 'gotta read' list asap.

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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