Friday, August 8, 2014

Someone Else's Love Story: A Novel by Joshilyn Jackson

Someone Else’s Love Story: A Novel. Joshilyn Jackson. HarperCollins Publishers. August 2014. 336 pp.  ISBN#: 9780062105660.

Shandi Pierce has her best friend, Walcott, tell her family and friends that she conceived her son, Natty, in a “virgin” birth.  The credibility of this claim stretches the reader’s curiosity but her story doesn’t change for a long, long time, four years to be exact.  Natty, it turns out, is a gifted child and so Shandi is taking him to live in Atlanta where he can attend a school for special children.  This gift comes from her father, long divorced from her mother, with the disapproval of Bethany, her father’s second wife, a snob always willing to fling barbs at Shandi.  Her Mom and Dad are always vying for Shandi’s preference but that’s not her way.  Now it’s time to begin a journey for her beloved Natty, who is her “everything!”

An incidental stop at the Circle K gas station turns into a horror and later a mercy.  For after Shandi is done ogling a sexy looking “Thor” figure, they all enter the store for some snacks and then a drugged-up guy enters with a gun, determined to hold up the cashier for whatever cash he can get.  The story of the captive victims in the store is riveting reading that amps up the adrenaline for the reader as well as the fearful prisoners.  Where it goes is so totally unexpected but evolves into Shandi facing her past and wanting to know the unknown about her son’s real father.

William is the hero of the day and yet he’s an enigma.  He’s a brilliant scientist and probably autistic (something like Asperger’s Syndrome, but never specifically identified).  He’s also suffering from a devastating, brutal loss that haunts his days and nights and has done so for the past year.  Later on his best friend, Paula, and Shandi clash like wildfire as each vies not only for William’s mind but also his heart, something that whirls through William’s brain but which he can’t resolve.

William, however, is the one who really “gets” what Shandi needs and the discovery of Natty’s genetic makeup leads not only to Natty’s father but a story within a story that is shockingly credible and intertwines with characters one would never imagine were involved.  The plot becomes complex but does reach clarity by the lovely but unexpected ending.

Someone Else’s Story is a thriller and a love story, but the latter includes many different types of love that force several characters to grow up fast and face the truth about the past, present and future!  

Solidly written and fascinating read, Joshilyn Jackson!

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