The books I’ve been reading recently have mainly been non-fiction and last month, I decided that I wanted something a bit more romantic to give myself a break from the factual based stuff.
Luckily, sitting on my shelf was a book that my sister had lent me a long time ago, Vince & Joy by Lisa Jewell. It was just what I was looking for!
Vince and Joy meet when they are teenagers at a caravan park in Hunstanton. They soon fall in love but are never given the chance to say goodbye to each other as Joy’s family leave in a hurry, following an incident that takes place involving both sets of parents.
The couple lose touch but their paths cross again years later as fate intervenes.
I could not fault this book – I could not put it down!
Vince & Joy is pre-David Nicholl’s One Day but maintains the same sort of principle as it follows the couple from their teenage years until their thirties. We watch them develop physically and mentally as they form new friendships and relationships over seventeen years.
For me, the strongest part of the book was the exploration of human relationships. The relationship between the title characters is so real and believable, as are the relationships that both of them have with other characters throughout the novel. Vince and Joy felt more like friends than characters as their lives played out before me.
The plot was a little far-fetched in places as Vince & Joy found their way back to each other through a series of strange coincidences but I don’t feel that it was completely out of the ordinary. Any concerns I had about the plot were soon cast aside as the book flowed so naturally that it seemed normal for the characters to (spoiler alert!) literally live around the corner from each other!
Lisa Jewell deals with so many complex issues in a way that engages the reader and really makes us sympathise with her characters. From controlling relationships to drug abuse and pregnancy, each issue is dealt with in a very understated yet powerful way; the characters’ dilemmas are brought to the fore and handled with great care by the author as she navigates them through troubled waters. All of this is done with the perfect tone and pace so that we do not dwell on one problem for too long but neither do we forget it easily.
If you’re looking for something romantic and exciting, pick up Vince & Joy this summer! It’s an exceptional book that should not be written off as ‘chick-lit’; it has many layers and confronts a number of controversial topics. An absolute stunner – 5/5!