Joshilyn Jackson is the author of six novels set in the American South as well as a number of essays and short stories. She is one of those rare authors whose entire backlist readers are compelled to devour after reading any one of her novels. And regardless of the order in which you read them, each book seems to be better than the last.
It starts in a gas station. Shandi sees the handsome man assiduously studying the laundry detergent, and she's intrigued. He's obviously single, with no ring and unsure about his clothes-cleaning needs. Most days, Shandi would go up and flirt with the man, William Ashe, but before she can, they are all taken hostage by a nervous gunman. If Shandi was interested in William when she first saw him, she went head over heels the moment he put his own body between the gunman and Shandi's 3-year-old son, Natty.
During their ordeal, William at one point looks at Shandi and says, "Destiny," and she agrees with the assertion wholeheartedly.
However, what Shandi thinks William means with his pronouncement is not at all what he really means. Exactly one year before the robbery, William lost his daughter and then his wife in a horrific car accident. Life might as well have ended then for William as well. He deeply mourns his daughter's death, but it is the loss of his wife that completely wrenches apart William's world. Looking down the barrel of the gun in that gas station, he knows he can save the boy — who's the same age his daughter would have been — and he believes that his own suffering may be ending as he does so. For William, this is a win-win situation.
Shandi and William's interactions will change both of them deeply. Someone Else's Love Story is a grippingly emotional page-turner, but it is also a mediation on love, faith, kindness and forgiveness.
After you read and love Someone Else's Love Story, don't forget to pick up the short-story prequel about Shandi and Natty, My Own Miraculous.
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