Blurb from Penguin Books
From the SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author of Where the Light Gets in and All I Ever Wanted
‘No one tugs at the heartstrings quite like Lucy Dillon’ Red magazine
What happens when ‘I do’ turns into ‘I don’t know’?
Jeannie always wanted to fall in love, and now she’s finally got the whirlwind romance she dreamed of. Dan’s gorgeous, he’s a successful young vet, and he flew her to New York and proposed on Brooklyn Bridge. Jeannie has to remind herself this is actually her life. It seems too perfect, too magical, to be real. Yet it is.
But now she’s on her way to the wedding she can’t shake off the tight sensation crushing her chest. Is it just nerves . . . or is this all happening a bit too fast?
Jeannie has one last chance to shout, ‘Stop!’ But just as she grabs it, a bizarre twist of fate throws everything she knows into the air like confetti. What Jeannie learns about Dan, about her own heart, and about the power of love itself, will change her world for ever.
PRAISE FOR LUCY DILLON:
‘Bittersweet, lovely and ultimately redemptive; the kind of book that makes you want to live your own life better’ Jojo Moyes
‘This vibrant and uplifting novel has not only entertained me hugely, but made me change the way I look at life.’ Katie Fforde
‘Satisfying and clever and deeply moving’ Sophie Kinsella
I’ve read a few Lucy Dillon books in the past and always found them to be incredibly well written with great heart and touching storylines. And I was pleased to discover that this book, Unexpected Lessons in Love, is no different.
It’s a lovely easy read that I happily got lost in over the course of two days. The novel follows the story of Jeannie who is just about to get married after a whirlwind relationship. However on the way to the church Jeannie questions if she truly loves Dan her husband to be and makes the choice to back out of the marriage. She tries to contact Dan but his phone ends up going to his voicemail. And then she gets a phone call to say there has been a terrible accident…
What followed was a story that touched on many human emotions including love in all its forms but also the guilt of not loving someone as you think you should.
The main character of Jeannie was both incredibly relatable and immensely likeable. I found myself empathising with her a lot as she struggled to understand that to fully love another person means you that first you must love yourself and listen to your own wants and needs. I very much enjoyed reading her story arc as she experienced so much personal growth over the course of the novel.
As a dog lover I was delighted that the book included many canine companions and indeed had a storyline that focused on life in a dog rehoming centre and showed the harsh realities of puppy farming. My favourite scenes in the book surrounded the delightful doggie characters of Gem the collie and Lady Sadie the staffie. I also particularly enjoyed personal storyline surrounding the characters of Rachel who ran the dog rehoming centre and her husband George the vet.
There was one part of the book that I wasn’t so keen on and that was the character of Owen who was Dan’s best friend. I very much felt that his deep friendship with Jeannie felt much too forced and without wishing to spoil anyone I just wish that he had exited the storyline much closer to the 75% mark of the book. It just didn’t make sense to me why he was so involved in family decisions surrounding Dan’s care especially when Dan’s mum Andrea was ever present.
I also wish that Jeannie’s own parents were more present in the novel. They had a very interesting relationship dynamic due to Jeannie’s mum’s disability and I would have loved to have read more about that storyline.
However, overall I did enjoy this read. I certainly giggled a few times, I definitely shed some tears and therefore would recommend this to someone looking for a pleasantly diverting easy read.
three and a half to four stars
An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review