Engaging, Beautifully Crafted, Moving: Review of Love and Other Battles by Tess Woods

Engaging, Beautifully Crafted, Moving: Review of Love and Other Battles by Tess Woods

It’s 1969, and Jessica James is a freewheeling, idealistic young hippie, firmly against the Vietnam War and everyone involved in it. But after a chance meeting with a soldier about to leave for service in Nui Dat, Jessica’s mind begins to change. She never thought she’d fall for someone in the military, and certainly not a disciplined young man with a buzz-cut, just days away from shipping off to the war she’s been protesting for years. But the attraction between Jessica and Frank is undeniable…

Fast-forward to 1989, and Jessica’s daughter Jamie is sitting down for coffee in a bustling Melbourne cafe. For as long as she can remember, Jamie has felt like the complete opposite of her free-spirited mother, who named her Nirvana and dressed her in op-shop clothes until Jamie decided she wanted to be more like the other girls at school and changed her name and her style. An aspiring young teacher, Jamie feels like her life is on track, until she meets a struggling, deeply charismatic musician who turns her world upside down…

In 2017, Jamie’s daughter CJ is crushing hard on Finn, the coolest boy in school. There’s something different about Finn–he moved to Australia from Seattle in Year Eleven, and he writes his own music. Finn has never even looked at CJ until one day in music class, when CJ’s self-penned song catches his attention. He sweeps CJ off her feet, but CJ’s mother and grandmother can tell he’s bad news. And as the two teens grow closer, the past and present collide, and secrets buried for decades begin to resurface…

Following three generations of very different Australian women, Love and Other Battles is an engaging, beautifully crafted and deeply moving new novel from Tess Woods. Currently known for her bestselling contemporary novels including Beautiful Messy Love, this sweeping new multi-generational story marks a change of direction for Woods, but she’s made the move seamlessly, a testament to her versatility and skill as a writer.

Tumultuous 1960s Australia and the fast-paced Australia of the 1980s are both compellingly depicted in this story, and the present-day scenes explore tough topics with sensitivity and insight, touching on teenage self-harm, incurable illness, and the long-lasting trauma of war. The story has plenty of light in it too, though. Woods writes with great warmth, and there’s witty dialogue and lots of romance. More than one character experiences the joy that comes from a fresh new beginning.

Woods has a real knack for crafting genuine characters, and Jessica, Jamie and CJ are so intimately and realistically drawn you’re certain to come across some of your own experiences of womanhood mirrored in the pages of Love and Other Battles, making for a profoundly relatable story. Woods explores mother-daughter relationships and societal expectations of women with particular nuance, and the book is ultimately an ode to strong women everywhere, and a reminder that we can survive nearly anything with the support of each other.

A rich and captivating tale of love, loss, family secrets and second chances, Love and Other Battles is a novel with depth, heart and hard-hitting emotional power. A highly recommended read.

About the author:

Tess Woods lives in Perth, Australia, with one husband, two children, one dog and a cat who rules over them all. Her debut novel, Love at First Flight, received acclaim from readers worldwide and won Book of the Year in the AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Award. Her second novel, Beautiful Messy Love, was a 2017 Better Reading Top 100 pick. When she isn’t working or being a personal assistant to her kids, Tess enjoys reading and grannyish pleasures like knitting, baking, drinking tea and tending to the veggie patch. She’s also moderately obsessed with the TV series Nashville and Buzzfeed quizzes. Tess loves connecting with her readers on Facebook: @Tesswoods.harpercollins and Instagram: @tesswoods_author.

Buy a copy of Love and Other Battles here

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                      Synopsis

                      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.
                      Tess Woods
                      About the author

                      Tess Woods

                      Tess Woods lives in Perth, Australia, with one husband, two children, one dog and a cat who rules over them all. Her debut novel, Love at First Flight, received acclaim from readers worldwide and won Book of the Year in the AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Award. Her second novel, Beautiful Messy Love, was a 2017 Better Reading Top 100 pick. When she isn’t working or being a personal assistant to her kids, Tess enjoys reading and grannyish pleasures like knitting, baking, drinking tea and tending to the veggie patch. She’s also moderately obsessed with the TV series Nashville and Buzzfeed quizzes. Tess loves connecting with her readers on Facebook: @Tesswoods.harpercollins and Instagram: @tesswoods_author.

                      Books by Tess Woods

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