Title: Better Together
Author: Nicola May
Publisher: Nowell Publishing
Jess is nearly 40 when she meets Dan Harris at a party. She is single, sorted, happy – with a great job and a buzzy social and sex-life. All of this is threatened when she falls deeply in love with Dan, who is only 23.
Jess, being older, recognises this as the real, precious thing – but in his immaturity, Dan does not. Unable to cope with the stigma of being with an older woman, he eventually leaves her.
Ten years pass…
Jess, who is still gorgeous at 50, is married now, with a child of her own.They meet again. The years fall away. This time, Dan understands – but is it too late?
Gosh this book was total drama from beginning to end! I couldn't put it down, every time you thought it was safe to take a breath, something else happened! I thought the premise behind this book was really interesting, and being a fan of Nicola May's other novels, began this book one Saturday morning and had nearly finished it by later that afternoon! It was fast-paced, covering nearly 12 years in that time, several disastrous encounters between main characters Jess and Dan.
Jess is nearing forty and in the beginning of this novel, seems to have it all, great job, own house, complete financial independence and then a chance encounter with 24 year old Dan, sets all that spinning on its head. A bit like in Nicola May's other novel, Star Fish, I found myself frustrated with the character at some points in the story, showing just how involved I was in her happiness and her relationship with Dan. The drama that goes on in the woman's life is better than even something Eastenders could come up with, truly truly soap opera gold! For some readers, this may be too much drama, but for me it just meant that the book was not something I could out down. I HAD to read on and find out what was going to happen next.
Jess goes through some highs and some lows, but I thought that there was really lovely piece of writing in novel when Jess is having a particularly low moment, and something which most readers will be able to identify or empathise with... "Somehow reading had taken over from hiding under he duvet. She was now hiding behind the characters instead. As long as she was reading about someone else's life, time seemed to go by faster." My only criticism of the writing by this author in this case, is that some of the scenes felt a little rushed at times, some more detail or further explanation of how events came about, would have been entirely welcomed by me, and I don't think would have proved harmful to the pacing of the story or the novel as a whole.
I totally loved the ending of the book and i thought it represented the character of jess really well, a the decision that, had she been real, she would have made for herself, without any help from the author! If you are looking for a quick read which encompasses a compelling love story, some good old fashioned life lessons and high drama involving births, deaths and marriages, then you will love this book. If you have not read anything by this author before, this book is a good stand alone novel and shows off her writing excellently.