Eleven years ago, Jem Catterick and Ralph McLeary fell deeply in love. They thought it would be forever, that they’d found their happy ending. As everyone agreed, they were the perfect couple. Then two became four, and an apartment became a house. Romantic nights out became sleepless nights in. And they soon found that life wasn’t quite so simple anymore. But through it all, Jem and Ralph still loved each other. Of course they did.
Now Jem is back at work part-time as a talent agent. Ralph, a successful painter, is struggling to come up with new, hopefully groundbreaking, work for his upcoming show. But the unimaginable has happened. Two people who were so right together are starting to drift apart And in the chaos of family life, Jem feels like she’s losing herself, while Ralph, stuck on the sidelines, feels like he’s lost his muse altogether. Something has to change. As they try to find a way back to each other, back to what they once had, they both become momentarily distracted—but maybe it’s not too late to recapture happily ever after…
Lisa Jewell (b. 19 July 1968, Middlesex Hospital, London) is a popular British author of chick lit fiction. Her books include Ralph’s Party, Thirtynothing, After The Party, a sequel to Ralph’s Party, and most recently The Making Of Us. She was educated at St. Michael’s Catholic Grammar School in Finchley, north London, leaving school after one day in the sixth form to do an art foundation course at Barnet College followed by a diploma in fashion illustration at Epsom School of Art & Design. She worked in fashion retail for several years, namely Warehouse and Thomas Pink. After being made redundant, Jewell accepted a challenge from her friend to write three chapters of a novel in exchange for dinner at her favourite restaurant. Those three chapters were eventually developed into Jewell’s debut novel Ralph’s Party, which then became the UK’s bestselling debut novel in 1999.
Reading the synopsis of this book, I jumped on the chance to read this novel. I mean hey, a couple who isn’t perfect? A couple who has kids? That’s my kinda novel. So, I couldn’t wait to delve into this new-to-me author’s work of fiction and read all about Jem and Ralph. What I didn’t know was that this was a sequel to Jewell’s previous novel, Ralph’s Party. I will definitely have to go back and read that one, too! I know I will like it just as much!
I truly loved Ralph and Jem. Reading the story from their points of view, was very enjoyable. They’ve been married for 12 years and thought life would always be like that moment they said ‘I do’. But, after the marriage, comes lots of issues, and the happily-ever-after…..well, it ain’t so much. They thought nothing, nothing at all, would stand in their way of a happy, romantic, love filled marriage.
But, enter the kids, and the communication problems, and Ralph taking a “vacation” to find himself, well, that just doesn’t help the marriage in a positive way. In fact, it all hinders their happily-ever-after. It’s definitely a whirl wind, roller coaster ups and downs, kind of story.
This isn’t a “light” read. It’s a fast read, because you become so engrossed into the life of Jem and Ralph, wanting to see if their marriage was truly over, or if there was in fact, any way to make the commitment a happy, lasting one, but, the drama, the characters deep emotions, and the finding ones true self, is all a deep and emotional plot line. I would definitely recommend this novel with a 4 Book Rating, and will be going back to read Ms. Jewell’s debut novel, Ralph’s Party, to see where it all began. I will also be checking out her other works, as I love her style of writing. Well done, Ms. Jewell!