Unexpected Lessons in Love by Lucy Dillon

What happens when ‘I do’ … turns into ‘I don’t know’?

Unexpected Lessons in Love by Lucy Dillon is a book of surprises, a book that makes you think you know exactly how it should go, only to turn you assumptions on their head and present you with something completely brand new. It was a completely refreshing read and I absolutely adored it from page to page.

Jeannie always wanted to fall in love, an she’s finally got the whirlwind romance she dreamed of. But now she’s on her way to the wedding she can’t shake off the tight sensation crushing her chest. Is it just nerves … or is this all happening a bit too fast?

Jeannie has one last chance to shout, ‘Stop!’ But just as she grabs it, a twist of fate throws everything she knows into the air like confetti. What JEannie learns about her fiance Dan, about her own heart, and about the power of love itself, will change her world for ever …

As I opened to book on the first chapter, I felt I knew exactly what would happen. I mean, bride has second thoughts on the wedding day? An ultimate cliche. However, the ending to the first chapter drops a complete curve ball that knocked me, and the main character Jeannie, for six. In a matter of pages, Jeannie’s identity changes from the character causing the chaos to the character left in the middle of it as an unforeseen catasprophe which she cannot work out if she caused.

Jeannie was a character I instantly fell in love with. Her honesty and authenticity left me completely engaged with her storyline, desperate to find out what would happen next. Caught between being true to herself and being the version of herself that those around her need her to be, Jeannie’s narrative is filled with such raw emotion that you cannot help but connect with her.

Lucy Dillon’s creation of characters is something that I have absolutely adored in her writing before, and it certainly wasn’t amiss here. Every character you encounter, from her mother, to her neighbour, to her fiance’s best friend, are created with such a rich and complex background that her writing becomes instantly immersive.

As with Lucy Dillon’s Where the Light Gets In, what truly made this a book that I not just loved but adored, was that this is a story not about love but about life. The romance acts as an addition to the story but not the be all or end all. Instead, the narrative is much more focused on characters discoverying their true selves, shapening their idnentity for themselves rather than the role they are expected to play. Unlike most female heroine’s, Jeannie’s life lives outside the main guy, and instead is about her recovery and how she aids the recovery of those around her. She acts as a beacon of hope and transformation both for the others characters, and for the reader themselves.

This truly is a book that stays with you. I was in awe of Lucy Dillon’s writing yet again and Jeannie’s journey was so unique yet inspiring that it really resonated with me. Plus, the book has lots of dogs in it – what’s better than that?

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