Always With Love
(A Billy and Sophie Story)
Publisher: Penguin UK - Michael Joseph
Date: 2nd June 2016
Sophie's got used to being the girlfriend of Billy Buskin, the biggest movie star in the world. Sort of.
But when she and Billy take a trip to visit his family in Los Angeles, she quickly discovers she's totally unprepared for the chaos of Hollywood, the paparazzi and Billy's controlling mother.
And when Billy extends his stay in LA, leaving Sophie to fly home to Rosefont Hill alone, it seems there's more than just miles between them.
Now Sophie must decide if they can overcome their differences for good. Because not every love story lasts the distance.
It doesn't take a genius reading my social media links to confirm that I'm a big fan of Giovanna Fletcher, and it's safe to say I've been excited for her latest novel since it was announced she was writing it.
I'll be honest, as excited I was, there was some apprehension too. I had various questions circling my brain on how Billy and Sophie's story could be brought forward, and there is always the worry that sequels just don't live up to expectations of the first book.
Well, I started Always With Love and I finished Always With Love.
Start to Finish.
Who needs to get out of their PJ's and brush their hair on a bank holiday anyway?!
Always With Love is broken in to four parts, the first being just after Christmas and see's Sophie and Billy heading to LA to spend New Year with the Buskin clan - please don't worry about this being a festive novel, it's not in any way and is only referenced as being the time of year.
The first few chapters had me wondering where the book was going, I found there quite a few re-caps to how the pair met and how they had got to the point they were out.
At a push, I guess you could read Always With Love as a stand alone book but there is so much more to the story that I really would urge to your read both Billy and Me and Christmas with Billy and Me first to really get an understanding of the wonderful characters Giovanna has created.
If you have read the previous stories, you will be aware that Billy has taken a break from acting, but as we get to know his side of the family more in Always With Love, it is clear that his mother is concerned about him settling down too quickly and neglecting his career. A series of event's leads to Sophie returning to Rosefont Hill alone, whilst Billy remains in LA taking up a massive film role.
Parts 2 and 3 of the book see a lot of happening, and Giovanna cleverly moves the story forward ensuring that it flows perfectly. At the return of Molly's son, Peter, I had a slight concern that that there would be a repetitive story line of the papers creating something out of nothing, testing Billy and Sophie's relationship once again, but Giovanna kept it fresh and interesting.
One of the main sub plots of the book is the upcoming nuptials of Sophie's mum and Colin, which comes to ahead in part 4, and it was lovely to see how much the characters had moved on - Little Charlotte is a gem of a character and really gained a personality in this story.
Alongside Sophie and Billy coping with being apart, which is the main focus of the book, I felt we saw a really big change in Sophie. Her character becomes more focused and responsibly.. I suppose you could say we saw her grow up a bit.
Always With Love was a great read, and even though there are issues and problems for the couple along the way, for me the heart of the story is a warming one about moving on, letting go, new beginnings and finding yourself.
I found it gloriously romantic with the letters Sophie and Billy used to communicate with whilst miles apart.
Told in the narrative of Sophie, Giovanna never fails to tell a romantic love story that you can't help but smile along too. It was full of emotion, with equal measures of humour and laughter.
And that ending....?
Just leads me to say, I can't wait to see what happens next in Sophie and Billy's world!
I would like to thank the team at Michael Joseph for providing me with an advanced copy of
Always With Love
via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest opinion.
Billy and Sophie books
Other Books by Giovanna Fletcher