Where Love Lies – Julie Cohen

where love lies

To the outside world Felicity has the perfect life, a job as a children’s author and illustrator, a lovely home in a small village and a doting husband most women would dream of. Underneath all of this though, Felicity is struggling. After the loss of her mother something hasn’t felt right but one day she catches a scent she hasn’t smelt in years…could it be her mother? Following her senses has never been more risky as it all comes down to following her head or her heart.

The novel revolves around love, loss and questioning yourself. As Felicity struggles with what she knows is right and what she feels it leads us as a reader to question our own lives. It is also very important to recognise that Felicity is on her own, the mother she adored has gone, she’s never known her father and feels suffocated by the expectations that life in a small village have put on her.  After the whole village seems to know that her and husband Quinn have even considered having a baby (something which she hasn’t even decided on yet) her feelings of not belonging come to the surface again.

The fact that Cohen has also used multiple POV’s makes this go further than the chick lit title that some have given it (you are WRONG this novel goes further than that!) seeing both Quinn and Felicity’s side opens up a whole new set of questions and feelings towards the characters. I fell in love with both of the characters and it spurred me to read constantly, Cohen has an incredible knack of making you know something isn’t quite right but giving you no clue as to the real answer!

After reading Dear Thing, I was hooked by Cohen’s talent and eagerly waited for Where Love Lies, as I suspected Cohen didn’t disappoint. The novel focuses on the fine lines of love that we sometimes forget, the hazy days of a first love and the realities of settling down. While Felicities’ feelings are confusing and at times hard to understand you live through them with her and are just as desperate as she is to work out what is going on.

Although I can’t spoil it for you, the ending of this novel is absolutely spectacular and so well researched. To top it all off it’s something that you would never suspect and if anything can be slightly chilling as well as an interesting perspective. There is a worry of mine that when a novel builds steadily throughout the reveal will disappoint but I can assure you Where Love Lies is completely worth the wait and the suspense.

I’m giving this novel 5 stars *****. Although initially I wondered how this would work and worried it could be just a romance Cohen has crafted something inspiring with Where Love Lies, the novel makes you think, question and follows you for a long time after you have finished. I think quirky Felicity and loveable Quinn will live in my memory for a long time, and so will the ending but you’ll find out why once you read it yourself!

Advertisements

Dear Thing – Julie Cohen

How could one selfless act make you feel like a monster?

One baby. Two mothers.

Dear Thing…

It’s not every day that your best friend offers to carry a child for you, a dream that looked like it would never come true. This is the case for Ben and Romily, friends since university and inseparable. In the midst of another miscarriage for Ben’s wife Claire, Romily offers to carry a baby for them and to donate her eggs. While at first all goes to plan and runs smoothly it isn’t long until Romily’s feelings develop into something more. While carrying the child of the man she has loved for years she starts to dream of the impossible…keeping a baby that she knows isn’t hers to keep.

I loved the fact that this novel is bold in the face of a tricky subject as well as being believable. A lot of the time novels about surrogacy are quite fluffy and don’t have the complications that Dear Thing has. The relationships are real to us because frankly it could happen to anyone, Romily is sure that the reason she is doing this is because she wants to help her friend after everything he’s done for her. We know she’s battling with her feelings and so does she but I find the character to have remarkable strength and she becomes so real to us because she’s honest. Cohen has done an incredible job of breaking taboos, breaking this image of a ‘natural mother’. Romily does a great job in her own non-conventional way but so does Claire, Cohen highlights a mothers struggles, triumphs and the thoughts most won’t speak out loud.

I’ll admit the character of Jarvis threw me a little and to some seems like a plot device but I liked him. I feel like without a new character and relationship dynamic the novel could have quickly got boring and left the characters weak. On that subject I have to say that Posie is my absolute favourite character because there is nothing like the honesty of a child that always listens. What Cohen has done so well with these relationships the way the characters relate to each other, this isn’t a novel full of happy endings and rainbows, there are times when you feel deep sadness for them or even happiness.

This novel is one that makes you think, not judge, a rare thing in these types of literature. You know what makes sense but reading through you begin to question and in a sense live through the situation and it’s not all black and white, there are a million shades of grey and just as many ways the novel could end…you’ll have to pick up a copy to find out though!

I’m giving this novel 5 stars *****! I absolutely loved it. While it’s thought provoking it’s not too intense on the ready the pace is gentle and fairly steady meaning that if you have a tonne to do (which I did when I was reading it) there are places you can stop, although I warn you, you won’t want to! This is an incredibly well-crafted novel, thoughtful, realistic and bold, go grab a copy now!

 

Review by Chloe Metzger