Love Them and Leave Them is a story of love, families, friendship and a world of possibilities. Whichever decision Ed makes, the same people are destined to come into his daughter’s life, sometimes in delightfully different ways. And before they can look forward to the future, they will all have to deal with the mistakes of the past.
Jessica, in both versions, is a character who the reader will warm to immediately. Ed's decision has huge ramifications for her - in one version, devastatingly so. In another, although everything seems to be perfect, there are trials and tribulations in store for Jessica and that journey of self discovery still has to be taken. Her relationship with her father is very convincing and very moving in both accounts.
There were a few moments when I felt Barrister Jessica's life was a little bit too good to be true, but there are underlying tensions revealed as we get to see a bit more of her relationship with her boyfriend Nick. I loved Shepherd's analogy of how the two characters eat their meals to encapsulate so perfectly the difference between them.
I was intrigued by the storyline. Initially I was concerned that following Jessica through two different versions of events might become confusing - particularly when their worlds begin to collide in such a unexpected manner but not at any point at all did I get in a muddle or forget who was who, which story I was involved in or who was doing what in that particular moment. Shepherd manages her plot effortlessly and seamlessly.
This book is a gentle read. It's entertaining and Shepherd has a pleasing turn of phrase. Although it is a reasonably light read, it is not without moments of poignancy, shock, sadness and drama. The characters come to life and the dynamics between them are believable. I enjoyed the challenge that Shepherd set in making me really think about the characters as we see them behaving in different situations. I did change my mind a few times about some of them!
Shepherd explores a lot of interesting themes about friendship, parenthood, responsibility, success, love, happiness and fate. All great universal themes which any reader will enjoy contemplating. All in all this is a very satisfying read.
I'm going to leave you with some quotes from the end that I thought captured the essence of the novel as well as generally being very good advice for all of us, whichever stage of our journey we are on and whichever version of life we are traveling:
Don't miss the rest of the BLOG TOUR for LOVE THEM AND LEAVE THEM