The Will by
I have no idea where to begin to review this book – but I know that I have to because it is possibly one of the most tenderly beautiful novels I have ever read.
Exquisitely written this is Kristen Ashley at her finest and reading it has been a privilege. The book is just damn well epic!!!!!
The Will is the ultimate romance novel – a masterpiece of our time, one of those books that you need to read curled up on a comfy chair with a glass of wine in your hand because once you stop – nothing else will matter – it will transport you gently through the pages into the world of Josephine and Jake.
This is not a story of angst riddled youth, hormone induced lust and unrequited love – this is the story of two forty something’s – proper grown-ups! Who have lived a life full of both high and low lights but who through the ministrations of one amazing old woman, get brought together following her passing.
Josephine Malone is the Personal Assistant to a high flying photographer and since her early twenties has spent the last 23 years becoming used to the finer things in life, she wants for nothing – she can go anywhere or do whatever she wants at the drop of a hat but life was not always that kind to Josephine. Physically abused by a belligerent father, she found herself eventually taken in by the only person that has every really loved her – her amazing grandmother Lydia.
Never one to welcome the friendship of others, she has maintained a steely façade for much of her life but through this she has missed out on the opportunity to have a proper relationship, the chance to find a husband and to even possibly be a mother.
When Lydia dies, Josephine finds her way, alone - back to the only place she can call home – Magdalene.
Stifled by grief, she is so vulnerable that she is at a loss to comprehend that she really now has no-one.
Little does she know that her grandmother has other plans and from beyond the grave has set a plan in motion that will provide Josephine with the rock that will anchor her safe for the rest of her life.
The name Jake Spears means absolutely nothing to Josephine and nor should it. A thrice married former boxer, with 3 children – he doesn’t fit into Josephine’s world. But he and his children had a very close relationship with Lydia, she had taken them under her wing – financially supporting Jake when he needed a backer to support his failing gym and lending him enough money to not only improve the gym but get his other business off the ground – even if it was a strip club. As well as ingratiating herself into the lives of the children in such a way as to both love and encourage all three of them as if they were her own blood.
Lydia’s death hits them all hard and although he has an advantage in that he knows all about Josephine from Lydia – that is not reciprocated because she has never heard his name before- but all that changes on the morning that Lydia’s will is read.
The reading of the actual will is fairly uneventful, if you disregard the sums of money that are banded around with regards to trust fund for the children etc. – my good god did this old woman had some cash!! But she kept her ace card well and truly hidden until the end -
“She wanted me for you.”
Taking on board the bequest– leaves them both stunned – Josephine more so – what on earth could be going through Lydia’s mind – they have nothing in common- in fact they are poles apart.
But they both loved the old woman and they won’t know what she saw for them both if they don’t try, so they endeavour to spend time together to get to know each other and to see if there is anything between them.
For Jake it is a done deal – he has had a thing for Josephine since before he met her, since the first time he saw her photo on the hall table in her grandmother’s home – he was enamoured by her. But he felt he had nothing to offer her – why would she want someone like him. He couldn’t give her the life’s she has become accustomed to and not willing to fail he kept his distance from both Lydia and Josephine every time she visited her grandmother. Jake’s priority was his children and wishful lusting after someone that he felt was out of reach was just that wishful fancy - his kids come first.
Spending time together, they come to understand that maybe the old woman was on to something and Josephine begins to yearn for the family she’s never had. She loves Jake’s children and they adore her. Could they possibly make this silly dream come true?
They have a chance at happiness but nothing is ever easy, so we journey with them as they learn to love each other. The connection between them is beautiful, the way they operate, is easy and fluid as if they had spent a lifetime together. But that is not to say that is all smooth sailing – life isn’t like that so why would this be – they have more than a few hiccups along the way but Lydia knew what she was doing when she gave these two to each other in her will – they are where they belong – together.
The story of this couple and the creation of their family are quite simply stunning – it is told with such elegance that it sucks you in and leaves you gasping for more.
The Spears family gift to Josephine at the end of the novel is sheer genius and had me in tears – who would have thought.
This is story telling of the highest calibre, to be read and enjoyed by everyone.
A sterling job Kristen Ashley – you laid it out for all to see and came up triumphant!!
Rating – off the charts!!!