Thursday, 20 February 2014

Review: This is a Love Story - Jessica Thompson

This is a love story. 
Boy meets girl and girl falls for boy - that much is true.
But when Sienna meets Nick it's not the way it happens in love stories. It's because of a squirrel on water skis... 
She sees Nick's dangerous brown eyes and thinks, 
Who will be there to catch Siena when she falls? She is so fragile. She has so many secrets, and he is not that serious.
Funny and sad, this is the story of two people destined never to come together in the great love affair they crave more than anything else.

Have you ever started a book and just known that you won't be able to go to sleep until you know the fate of all those involved? It can't just be me surely. This is a Love Story was started innocently enough in the evening as a little wind-down before bed and wasn't put down until 4am when I was bleary eyed but safe in the knowledge that I'd reached the conclusion and knew that all was as it should be.

This is a Love Story just popped out at me on a recent browse around the library so I decided to give the new-to-me author, Jessica Thompson, a go. Boy, was that the right decision. I don't know if I was just in the right mood for that particular, faintly melancholy, scenario or not but I completely devoured the saga of Sienna and Nick's relationship. This book is definitely not one for you if you're not ready for the long-haul.

Sienna and Nick initially meet, or that is to say their eyes meet, across a crowded commuter train in an out and out Romeo and Juliet fish-tank moment. Serendipity at play, they soon embark on a close friendship, each fighting their true feelings whilst remaining unsure of the depth of the other's emotion. The novel features a particularly skilful dual narrative that allows for a wonderful insight into both character's inner thoughts, frustrations and doubts. Whilst I can imagine that the lack of communication and the never ending missed opportunities would frustrate some readers, for me they were all too relatable. How many times have you found yourself unwilling to say something just in case you misinterpreted a signal or were afraid of damaging that good thing that you already had? Admittedly, This is a Love Story could just be the greatest ode to the British tradition of suppressing emotions ever written, but I think that Thompson crafts the story in such a way that it is so easy to track and empathise with that little niggle of uncertainty that streaks through both Nick and Sienna. The yearning, unconditional love that the characters have for one another, and their resulting friendship, is what makes this book so lovely, romantic and heart warming. Waiting for that happy ending is what keeps you hooked and reading until four in the morning.

Brit-lit and its best, Thompson has not only written an endearing, roller-coaster of a love story between Sienna and Nick, but also only writes a tribute to the spark and vitality of single, twenty-something London. If you liked One Day you're sure to love This is a Love Story and I recommend it as a achingly romantic love story, not quite like any other.

Thompson's second novel, Three Little Words, is also available but I daren't get it out until I've caught up on my much needed beauty sleep.

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