Marianne's Reviews > Love And Other Battles

Love And Other Battles by Tess Woods
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it was amazing

Love and Other Battles is the third novel by Australian author, Tess Woods. It’s 1969 and, with her pacifist attitude and strong views on the Vietnam War, Jessica James isn’t expecting to fall for a nasho, a national serviceman. Frank Stone sees this peace-chanting, atheist beatnik and calls her “Flower Child”. He is indeed a soldier, proud to serve his country and soon about to be sent, in all likelihood, to Nui Dat. And he’s a Catholic to boot. But there’s just something about him…

When she turned eleven, Nirvana James-Stone announced that henceforth she would be called Jamie, and that she was no longer a vegan. She’d had quite enough of calling her hippie parents by their first names. They would be Mum and Dad from then on. So to find her (very conservative) self, at eighteen, falling in love with long-haired muso Simon Gorenski, is not at all what she’d planned.

Seventeen-year-old CJ Stone is thrilled when the class heart-throb, cool and popular Finn Maxwell singles her out to compliment her on her latest song and ask her on a date. Such a sweet guy, although he is distracting her from study. But does that even matter? CJ wants to become a Country singer, get on stage at the Grand Ole Opry, and maybe even meet her idol, Scott Gunn. And Finn is right there with her. But is he maybe pushing for intimacy a bit too far, a bit too fast?

Woods gives the reader three strong female leads who end up making not-the-best choices under pressure and then have to face the consequences. Her characters are appealing, for all their very human faults. Even if he loves her with all his heart, Frank is a bit of a chauvinist, expecting Jess to compromise on her values without reciprocating. Nor is Jess perfect: in later life, she strongly resists letting go of her life partner despite his negligible quality of life. CJ allows her insecurity and need-to-please to erode her principles, while Jamie isn’t the only one keeping an explosive secret for decades.

The plot is easily believable with some surprises to keep it interesting; it explores many topical themes including self-harm, suicide, single-parent families, and euthanasia. At the end of the story, just as the reader is quite sure they have it all figured out, Woods springs one more sneaky surprise on them. Oh, and have the tissues ready for the final pages. With this one, Woods effortlessly surpasses her previous works, and it will be interesting to see what she does next. Recommended!
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Harper Collins Australia.
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Reading Progress

May 25, 2019 – Shelved
May 25, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
June 13, 2019 – Started Reading
June 14, 2019 –
June 15, 2019 –
June 15, 2019 –
June 16, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by Dale (new)

Dale Harcombe You certainly make it sound an interesting read Marianne.

Marianne Dale wrote: "You certainly make it sound an interesting read Marianne."

Thanks, Dale, I think you would enjoy it.

message 3: by Dale (new)

Dale Harcombe Good to know.

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