Title: The Trouble with Henry and Zoe
Author: Andy Jones
Publisher: 1 December 2016 by Simon and Schuster (Australia)
Pages: 400 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: romance, chick lit
My Rating: 4 cups
Henry and Zoe have more in common than they realise. For a start, they both have pasts they'd rather leave behind.
After jilting his childhood sweetheart on the eve of their wedding in the small town where they both grew up, Henry runs away to London, planning to reinvent himself and start afresh.
Zoe has her own healing to do and so she plans to leave London, travel the world, and figure out just what it is she wants out of life. She doesn't know where she's going, but she is determined to go there alone.
If Henry and Zoe had met one year ago, perhaps things could have worked out differently. But that's not the way it works; they meet seven months after their worlds have been turned upside down. And four months before Zoe is due to climb on a plane...
‘I know, but Zoe’s .. . it’s complicated.’
‘Newsflash, Henry, life is complicated. You deal with it, you move on.’
This was such an interesting, little quirky book - real and very honest. It’s all about relationships - relationships with lovers, friends, one’s parents, even the love you should hold for yourself. It’s a ‘rom-com’ for literature yet, looking beyond the superficial, it asks some very pertinent questions - should one stay in a relationship if you are not in love?
‘Should you smile and say ‘for better or worse’ when you suspect that of the two options the latter is by far the more likely?’
There are many engaging characters that will surely keep you turning the pages. However, for the two main characters, the author comes at it from a different angle. For you see they meet having just come out of relationships (and not the way you think!) Herein lies the tension, as they get to know one another. The problem is, however, Zoe has a planned overseas trip:
‘It feels like we’re at the start of something, and the more I learn about him and reveal about myself, the more I want . . . more. I don’t want to leave him, but the whole point of my year away is to find and fend for myself –and I’m not sure you can do that with someone holding your hand.’
Being a fan of the Golden Years of Hollywood, I also love the throwback to old movies and how they are tied in:
‘Brief Encounter, An Affair to Remember, Roman Holiday, His Girl Friday. Stories about love, thwarted by timing, pride, circumstance, politics, family, money, war, others. Stories with only two endings; will they/won’t they stories, although you can usually guess which.’
As I said, it is a very real and honest portrayal and I found that most appealing as it makes more believable. There are sad parts, funny parts and frustrating parts, with an ending that might surprise you.
‘Ten more Saturday nights and then it’s over. I knew from the outset that this .. . thing . . . was running out from the moment it started, but this official deadline hits me like a rejection. It feels like we’re just getting started –we are just getting started –but now the calendar has been marked with a hard ‘X’.
Will they? Won’t they? I couldn’t guess! Yet the story left me feeling satisfied that there does not have to be complete romantic closure; that anything is possible, especially when having the confidence to start over. If life is unsatisfactory in some way, then find ways to become inspired and choose a new path.
‘We won’t be together when the credits roll, but we will have a story. But a lot can happen in seven weeks, so I remind myself to shut up, sit back and enjoy the final act.’
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