Three Against the World
Redundancy gives Richard, a talented musician, the chance to pursue his dreams, but his fiancée, Bridget, publicly ditches him, making enemies of his friends. Next. his ex-wife, Naomi, dumps teenage Maria on his doorstep, claiming she’s his daughter. Scrapping freedom and dreams, Richard moves to London and takes Maria and an unwanted dog, Ben, with him. Can they find in each other the love they’ve been denied, or will an unknown enemy stop them?
This is a fun story of romance or in fact, most of the time, a lack of romance for Richard. He is terrible at picking women and despite having a lot going for him, each relationship fails. In truth, by the end, he wasn’t showing the best judgement when using a dating site to find a wife and proposing in a ridiculously short time, despite the warning signs. At the heart of the story is a 14 year old girl, who is deposited on Richard’s doorstep by his ex wife, with the announcement the girl is his daughter. What follows is a charming story, which proves everyday life has plenty of twists and turns, drama and humour. The book ends with a twist and I already have the next in the series on my kindle so I am looking forward to discovering what life (or the author) has in store for Richard and Maria.
Never work with children and animals, the saying goes… but Sarah Stuart has flown in the face of this advice and produced a thoroughly enjoyable – dare I say, even spellbinding – story that revolves round the hopeless romantic Richard, his putative daughter Maria, and Ben, the Jack Russell who stole my heart. I love this author’s effortless and deceptively simple style – it immediately flowed and drew me into the narrative, and I was increasingly engaged with the characters and the plot. Some of the female characters were femme fatales of the worst kind, and I often wanted to yell at the ever-trusting and starry-eyed Richard: “Look out behind you!” However, in the past I have fallen foul myself into the giddy trap of placing hope over experience, and it’s a steep learning curve – and Richard is still on the baby slopes throughout most of this book. The themes in the novel are not simply romantic, and although Richard seemed at times to be throwing himself recklessly into yet another black hole of an inevitably mismatched relationship, I couldn’t help but admire his stamina and decency, and his numerous struggles to do the right thing. Maria’s low self-esteem when she is dumped on his doorstep at the age of fourteen is the outcome of cruelly abysmal mothering, and the book takes the reader on a journey over several years to see how love eventually helps to heal her wounds, as well as Richard’s. I unreservedly recommend this novel, and I’m looking forward to reading more of this author’s work.