The blurb for Andy Jones’s just-in-time-for-Valentine’s-Day-novel, The Two of Us, is perfectly pitched for a February release – “Falling in love is the easy part. What matters most is what happens next…”
It’s the story of Fisher and Ivy. They’ve known each other for 19 days but both are sure it’s love.
“…anyway, how we met is academic – you don’t ask how the rain began, you simply appreciate the rainbow.”
In fact, Fisher is really, really sure (and the story is told from his point-of-view) –
“People talk about chemistry, and perhaps it was… Whatever the mechanism, there was something about Ivy that immediately made me not want to sleep with her. And what higher compliment can a scoundrel pay a lady?”
Never fear, The Two of Us doesn’t ever become too blokey, partly due to Ivy’s strong presence and partly due to the excellent range of secondary characters. Jones has clearly put considerable effort into each character – small details give them authenticity even though they are a somewhat unlikely bunch (Fisher’s friends include his best mate, El, whose life is devastated by Huntington’s Disease; his elderly neighbour, Eunice; and the hard-drinking, hard-living guy he works with). Equally good is the portrayal of Fisher’s family. When Fisher introduces his family to Ivy they make polite conversation and ask her the usual questions – particularly entertaining given that Fisher himself is curious about Ivy’s answers.
Is the plot slightly too tricked-up? Maybe… Just maybe. But you can forgive Jones because in Ivy and Fisher he has created characters that you like, that are believable – they’re people with ‘allowable faults’. Furthermore, it’s simply delightful ‘fluff’ that would be equally enjoyed by men or women – it’s just as much chick-lit as it is lad-lit.
I won’t say much more for fear of giving away the plot. Instead, I’ll ponder how my life may have turned out if I’d made a commitment to any of the guys I dated after just 19 days. Scratch that. Too bloody scary.
3/5 Worth noting that it’s a really strong three.
Fisher throws together a Beef Bourguignon for Ivy one night. I wish I could arrive home to a Beef Bourguignon that I hadn’t made myself…