Love and loyalty were tested in Tess Woods’ latest release Beautiful Messy Love, a heart-tickling page turner that is special to me for more than one reason. Three actually.
Firstly, Tess is a writer I have come to know and admire, not only for her honest, heart-centred writing, but her passion for social justice. Secondly, I got to be a character in her book. Seriously! I’m a busty, bitchy blonde with a dirty mouth, but hey, she gets to exercise her creative license – it’s her book. And thirdly, it really is a terrific book. Why? Because it is so Tess. Her Tess-ness leaps off the page and drags you into her heart, holding you there till you finish the book. It’s Tess in the voice, and Tess in the story – the refugee storyline comes straight from what matters to her.
Here’s the blurb:
What happens when love and loyalty collide? When football star Nick Harding hobbles into the Black Salt Cafe the morning after the night before, he is served by Anna, a waitress with haunted-looking eyes and no interest in footballers, famous or otherwise. Nick is instantly drawn to this exotic, intelligent girl. But a relationship between them risks shame for her conservative refugee family and backlash for Nick that could ruin his career.
Meanwhile, Nick’s sister, Lily, is struggling to finish her medical degree. When she meets Toby, it seems that for the first time she is following her heart, not the expectations of others. Yet what starts out as a passionate affair with a man still grieving after his wife’s death slips quickly into dangerous dependency. Scarred by tragedy each in their own way, these warm, hopeful couples must overcome prejudice and heartbreak to prove just how much they will give for beautiful messy love.
Beautiful Messy Love explores two love stories, with all their ups and downs, awakenings and betrayals. Of the two, I was more drawn to Nick and Anna’s story, and I felt it was the stronger story. But put together, Tess Woods delivers love in all its beautiful messiness, (of the heated and flavoursome kinds). Love at First Flight took me by surprise; Beautiful Messy Love hooked me all the way. (Harper Collins, RRP $29.99)