For several months, I debated picking up one of Joshilyn Jackson’s books. The only thing I knew of her was that she made her home in Georgia, which isn’t a big deal. I read blurbs from numerous books in local bookstores and libraries, thinking I wanted to write Southern fiction. So, after internal debating, I picked up this book from the library.
“Someone Else’s Love Story” sounds like what it comes off as: a romance novel, but somewhat without the cheesiness. The book tells two stories that span the same time frame. When single mother Shandi Pierce meets recently widowed William Ashe in the middle of a robbery, it feels like destiny. Half the book tells Shandi’s side, told in first person POV, while another narrator tells William’s story, intertwining the past and present.
There are numerous obstacles keeping Shandi and William apart. One of which is Paula, a close friend of William’s. She’s more of an advocate than a love interest, but she sees Shandi as a replacement for William’s lost love, Bridget, and that doesn’t sit well with her. Another is Walcott, Shandi’s friend who has professed his love for her, but may not be nothing more than a friend to her. And then there’s Natty, Shandi’s three-year-old son. He’s not an opposing force. And obviously being a mother, Shandi has his well-being in mind first and foremost.
Like I said before, this book could easily be construed as a light-read romance novel, as it doesn’t shy away from destiny. But Jackson throws a wrench in the ideal. William doesn’t believe in destiny in the traditional sense, as he believes some events are “mutually exclusive.” And Shandi’s preconceived notions are shattered, particularly when it comes to from Natty’s “miracle birth.” And I read more of the story, the more I came to understand that William and Shandi’s love story was not really a love story.
“Someone Else’s Love Story” was a welcomed change from what I typically read. Jackson does a great job telling the same story from two perspectives. Her characters are well-rounded and very flawed. I particularly found William’s story interesting. At first, I didn’t understand the reasoning behind the flashbacks, but it made more sense as I read the story. For reading a Southern fiction book for the first time, I was well-pleased. I look forward to reading another story from Mrs. Jackson.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5