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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Review: Love And Other Battles

Title: Love And Other Battles
Author: Tess Woods
Publisher: 17th June 2019 by HarperCollins Publishers Australia
Pages: 336 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: contemporary, historical, womens fiction
My Rating: 5 crowns

Three generations of women. Three heartbreaking choices. One unforgettable story.
1969: Free-spirited hippie Jess James has no intention of falling for a soldier ... but perhaps some things are not in our power to stop.
1989: Jess's daughter, Jamie, dreams of a simple life - marriage, children, stability - then she meets a struggling musician and suddenly the future becomes wilder and complex.
2017: When Jamie's daughter, CJ, brings home trouble in the form of the coolest boy at school, the worlds of these three women turn upside down ... and the past returns to haunt them.
Spanning the trauma of the Vietnam War to the bright lights of Nashville, the epidemic of teenage self-harm to the tragedy of incurable illness, Love and Other Battles is the heart-wrenching story of three generations of Australian women, who learn that true love is not always where you seek it.
My Thoughts

‘If I do what you want me to do, then that’s it. It’s over. No second chances. You’re gone, and I’m left all alone.’ She cried with full force now. ‘And I don’t want to be alone. I want to be with you.’

Tess Wood’s third novel is truly triumphant. Little more than part way in and I knew I was onto something special. The three generations of women (from the same family) in Love and Other Battles had me completed invested with their individual, yet related, stories. They were real and they were relevant. That, Tess Woods, is exceptional story telling. 

I often refer to myself as the ‘sandwich generation’ (caring for aging parents while supporting your own children) and this book encompassed that and so much more. There were teenager issues, there were midlife issues and then there were the aged care issues, all succinctly entwined. I thought for sure I would lose track of characters or timelines, but the writing soon put that qualm to rest. This book spoke to me, resonated with me so clearly, I can't praise it highly enough.

‘She’d learned enough about Parkinson’s disease to know that it wouldn’t kill him. He could keep deteriorating like this for another ten or more years, barely able to move or communicate, but with his organs doing just enough to keep him alive, trapped in the body that had failed him.’

There are serious issues tackled in Love and Other Battles and it hopefully provides a springboard for discussion. With subjects covering drugs, sexting and self harm, chronic disease and assisted dying, Tess presents but never overwhelms - her words are captivating. I hope that many read this book and topics are broached amongst families and communities. And just as you reach the conclusion, thinking all has been put to bed, Tess still keeps the punches coming with a few final surprises. So powerful.

Having read other books by Tess, I believe this one (which she had doubts about!) seriously surpasses anything she has written before. I appreciated all three timelines and loved the way they worked together to provide a bigger picture. This is a book that will take you on a journey and is most compelling, speaking directly to me and I am sure will be the same for many others. 

‘Had she predicted him rotting away in a nursing home surrounded by strangers who had lost the use of their bodies or minds? Trapped in the same four walls with a window looking out at the same patch of grass forever? Had she seen that and kept it to herself? Or was she every bit as shocked as Jamie at the devastating turn his life had taken?’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

1 comment:

Mystica said...

I like the time sequels outlining the story
Thanks for the review.