It’s a real pleasure today to be joining the blog tour for the latest book from the wonderful Jules Wake, The Spark, and sharing my publication day review: published by One More Chapter, it’s now available on all major ebook platforms, with the paperback to follow on 4th March (and available for pre-order). My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for both the invitation and support, and to the publishers for my advance reading e-copy (provided via netgalley).
I love Jules Wake’s writing – I haven’t quite finished pulling together this year’s Books of the Year list, but her last book, The Saturday Morning Park Run, will most certainly feature (you’ll find my review here). And last year, you might just remember that another of her books was included in my 2019 list – Notting Hill in the Snow, which I think has to be a contender for my favourite ever Christmas book (review here). So, let’s take a closer look at her latest…
Jess is falling for Sam.
Sam is falling for Jess.
But it seems life will do whatever it takes to make them fall apart.
When Jess and Sam lock eyes at a party, a spark ignites. The spark. But love at first sight isn’t like the movies, especially when Sam’s ex, Victoria, is determined to make their honeymoon period a living hell.
Is love at first sight enough?
In the acknowledgements that end this lovely book, the author tells us how she completely fell in love with Jess and Sam, her two main characters, and hopes that her readers will too. Well, I can’t speak for all her readers, but my goodness, I most certainly did – and I thought this book, while perhaps not quite (and certainly not always) the funny romantic comedy you might be expecting, was simply wonderful.
In terms of story, it’s a relatively simple one – Jess and Sam meet at a party, and the attraction is instant and powerful. Although they both feel the same, nothing can come of it – Sam is in a four-year relationship with Victoria, and after seeing the devastating effect on her mother of her father’s departure eighteen years ago when he fell in love with another, there’s no way she wants to be the one who breaks up a relationship and inflicts that pain on someone else.
But – through social media, which is really cleverly used throughout the book – she discovers Sam has ended his relationship, and their way is clear. And so begins a relationship so full of love and passion that it fills your heart with joy – until it becomes very clear that Victoria has no intention of walking away, instead doing all she can (with a rather disturbing edge of obsession) to win Sam back.
The romance in this book is just stunning – entirely believable, all-consuming, love of a depth and intensity incredibly well described. The small details are wonderful – like many others I loved the use of the Lego image (you need to read the book…), and small details like the shared smiles and touches entirely melted my heart.
The book is told through Jess’ voice – it makes it very easy to identify with her, to experience the intensity of her emotions, to share her fears and doubts…. and it certainly makes it easy to love her, and feel the depth of love that she’s been so fortunate to find.
The supporting cast is wonderful too – Jess’s close relationship with her aunt and uncle, her very difficult one with her bitter and twisted mother (with those awkward mother-daughter dance steps), her supportive friends (who also add much of the humour so well laced through the book). And then there’s Victoria – and I really did like the way that despite her extreme reactions and her atrocious behaviour it’s often difficult not to feel some sympathy for her (well, for a while at least – until she goes a little too far).
The back story of Jess’s upbringing and the events that shaped her are well played in too, with some clever mirroring when her attempts to build some bridges and put that hurt to rest are played into the story. The work she does too provides an extra dimension, and a very well handled one – and I really enjoyed the family Cornish wedding, a nice bit of lighter relief from the emotional turmoil. I’ll say no more, this book is one you need to experience for yourself – but I will just say that its ending is one of those wonderful moments you will never forget, heartbreaking, joyous, tear-filled and quite gloriously uplifting.
Yes, I loved the characters very much indeed – and this was such a special book, an emotional love story that moved me really deeply, broke my heart and then made it sing. Quite superb – and very highly recommended to all.
About the author
Jules Wake announced at the age of ten that she planned to be a writer. Along the way she was diverted by the glamorous world of PR and worked on many luxury brands and not so luxury brands. This proved fabulous training for writing novels as it provided her with the opportunity to hone her writing and creative skills penning copy on a vast range of subjects from pig farming and watches, sunglasses and skincare through to beer and stationery.
She writes best-selling warm-hearted contemporary fiction for One More Chapter as Jules Wake and under her pen name Julie Caplin, she writes the Romantic Escapes series. Between them, the two Js have written sixteen novels, The Spark being the latest.
For Jules Wake
For Julie Caplin