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What follows is the story of Jen's search for the truth of Michael's past relationship. For anyone who has ever been in a complicated relationship, her meeting of Michael's exes will have a familiar emotional pull. Wouldn't we all love a look at our lover's past to understand just where we stand? But as in real life, relationships are complicated and some secrets are never meant to be revealed.
Margaret Johnson has created a strong female lead who feels deeply and faces the challenges of her life head on. This tightly written, emotional story at times is a true page turner with enough angst to pull readers to the end. It's not quite a beach read, more like a big cup of tea snuggled under a blanket on a rainy day pleasure.
Jen and her partner, Michael, met at a fancy dress party almost four years ago. Michael made it clear from the start he didn’t want children as he already has a son from a former relationship. Jen has just discovered she’s pregnant and is apprehensive of Michael’s reaction and elated because she’s been quashing her desire to be a mother. Despite her friend Marcia’s urging she didn’t set out to deceive Michael, it’s just one of those unforeseen occurrences. Jen has every intention of telling Michael immediately but he arrives home on a motorbike, not very family orientated, having traded in the car. Jen is also nervous because Michael seems on edge lately and she wonders if he’s having a mid-life crisis. Not to mention the fact his previous relationships have never lasted longer than four years.
After talking to Hannah, her ex’s mother who she is very close to, Jen decides to do all she can to save her relationship with Michael, which involves drastic action. If she can find out, and understand, why Michael’s past relationships didn’t last she might be have an idea how to save her own.
Jen feels Michael has always held something of himself back and coupled with his strange behaviour, causes Jen to suspect he is planning on ending things between them. That feeling and Jen’s secret affects them both until it seems nothing will be able save their relationship.
I enjoyed reading the book very much. Romance isn’t usually a genre I choose unless it has other elements to the story. This book deals with some serious issues and is well crafted, sensitive and with no over exaggerated, slushy sentimentality. Characters are well defined and mostly easy to relate to. I particularly liked the relationship between Hannah and Jen but couldn’t really warm to Marcia for quite a while, even though I was able to sympathise with her situation.
The structure of the story works really well. Jen tells her story in the present and the first person. Alternate chapters reveal Michael’s story from when he was a little boy, until the two timelines merge past with present and complete the understanding of why Michael has become the man he is. I became lost in the story and found it quite moving.
The big question I keep asking myself is how does 'just a fling' not equate to adultery? If this were a screenplay, I'd be talking about the supporting actress, Marcia. She plays a huge roll in this book, and not a good one. She's manipulative, cunning, arrogant and controlling. Her persona almost usurps the main protagonist, Jen, who basically is everyone's doormat. Jen is the sweet, innocent girl next door. You know the type, downtrodden, insecure and defeated. She finds out on her wedding day that her fiancee is cheating. She eventually moves on to another man, Michael, and falls in love with him, gets pregnant then finds herself 'single' again. Why? You see, Michael has his own ghosts in the closet and can't deal with her being pregnant.
I would have liked to read more about Luke, the cheating fiancee. We get very little of what happened and why. We do learn he regrets what he did. However, we don't get any insight into him. Only a couple of lines where he admits his regrets. But then he also says 'it was only sex', trying to convince Jen that for men it's only physical and means nothing.... say what????? I'd love to know more about Luke's true feelings, especially his feelings for Jen.
I was provided a copy of For Hannah, With Love to read and review it honestly. I do think most readers will enjoy reading how to 'scramble eggs' and then make them into a tasty omelet :)
Most recent customer reviews
Book starts out with Jenny and she's with Michael and his teen son Kyle from another marriage.Read more