The Will by Kristen Ashley
” If you learn to accept yourself just as you are, learn to laugh at your quirks instead of hating them, show the world all that’s you without tryin’ to hide things that are not even a little unattractive, that makes you more attractive. What you got is a fuckuva lot. You own all of it and let it all hang out, you’ll go off-the-charts.”
It’s been a while since I’ve read a Kristen Ashley book. When I saw that pretty much all of my Goodreads friends were unanimous in loving this book, I decided to jump back in with this one.
The story begins with Josie at the funeral of her beloved grandmother. Josie hasn’t been back to Magdalene in years, as she was trotting the globe as an assistant to a famous photographer. Losing her Gran meant she had lost what was left of her family.
At the reading of her Gran’s will, Josie discovers that her Gran has left Josie to Jake Spear. The former boxer and town strip club owner. At first Josie is horrified, by the idea and by Jake’s profession, but over time and by getting to know him, Josie discovers there is more to Jake than meets the eye.
“Life is like a boxing match. Defeat is declared not when you fall but when you refuse to stand again.”
I was hesistant going into this book, as I’m in my mid-twenties and the main characters are in their forties. I was worried I wouldn’t be interested in their romance or lives, but then I remembered how amazing Ashley’s Sweet Dreams was, also about a couple in their forties, and decided to give this a chance. While this book does focus on issues that people in their forties face, like former lovers, ex wives, children and more, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book because it held strong themes offamily, love, survival, and finding one’s place in life when things change abruptly.
I loved the slow building romance between Josie and Jake, along with the little misunderstandings Josie had about Jake’s interest. Josie’s relationship with Jake’s children was beautiful; she helped them without ever forcing her way in or being overbearing. She didn’t try to be cool or someone different for their sakes, instead she was herself and showed constantly how much she cared about them and their well being.
The side plot with Henry made me kind of sad, I really hope he gets his own book or at least a mention of an HEA. I know he’s the one who fucked things up with Josie, but come on. Men tend to not think things through all of the time. A lot of the time.
“You see, a woman who knows herself and her worth knows that her time is valuable and her heart is precious. She doesn’t give either to a man who can’t respect the gifts he’s being offered.”
****MINI SPOILER AHEAD THAT I’M NOT TAGGING****
I only had two things I didn’t really like about this book. One was the side plot about Conner and his five high school girlfriends. It didn’t really make sense to me that Kristen Ashley would develop Ellie just to have them break up, with Conner being less than understanding of Ellie’s position her parents put her in, just to find another different girlfriend by the end. I would rather have had Ellie not exist and use Sophie instead. It just seemed like a waste of plot to me, but I guess I’m just being nit-picky.
The other thing I REALLY did not like was the way Josie talked. It drove me up the wall! She sounded like a pretentious snob and everyone was like, “oh you talk weird, that’s cute”. I’m over here like, “um, no. She sounds incredibly rude and condescending” but whatever. Despite the way she talked, I still really liked Josie mostly because she had a heart of gold and when you were someone she cared about, she took care of you.
This book really did feel like one of Kristen Ashley’s older works, and was a great romance that was well developed and not cheesy, which worked perfectly for me. That friggin epilogue had me crying giant ugly tears. Damn you KA! Right in the damn feels.
“It’s never too late to reach for happiness and no matter what life has done to you, it’s never too late to find it.”