Julia and Toby have been friends for years, but apart from a couple of drunken snogs in their university days, there's never been anything more than friendship between them. It's only when Toby goes through a dramatic break up with his gorgeous ballerina girlfriend Ruby, that he and Julia realise they're meant to be together. Then Ruby drops a bombshell - she's pregnant - and though he feels torn in two, Toby feels he has to give their relationship another chance. Heartbroken Julia is left to lick her wounds in her little Walthamstow home, thinking she has lost Toby forever. But things soon become much more complicated . . .
Two for Joy is the first novel by Helen Chandler and judging by just the synopsis alone this looks like a great start to her literary journey.
Julia and Toby have been best friends since university but although Toby made an attempt to take their friendship to the next level Julia didn’t share the same feelings so they have always remained close friends. Both Toby and Julia are at a point in their lives where they have a good job and a roof above their heads but the natural next step would be to find a partner and settle down. Toby is half way there but when he gets an unexpected response to his proposal to girlfriend Ruby everything goes horribly wrong. Julia is there to comfort him but things soon get heated and the pair are soon aware there is now more than friendship between them. This should be their happy ending but after a night to remember Toby receives a message from ex- girlfriend Ruby that puts the spanner in the works.
This is a great debut by Helen Chandler. It did take a little while for the book to pick up pace and to warm to the characters but as the book progressed I soon became wrapped up in this heartfelt storyline. Both Toby and Julia are very natural, normal characters who were easy to relate to and I found both of them were very likeable characters. My opinion of Ruby chopped and changed throughout the book but in the end I just came to the conclusion she is a very childish and spoilt character. Toby was a great character, you really felt for him giving up the woman he loves to support Ruby you could tell he felt torn but in his eyes it seemed the right choice to make, even if it wasn’t the right choice in my eyes.
Julia was easily my favourite character and unusual for me I actually admired her which is not something I find very often with fictional characters but the way she dealt with her situation had to be admired as I don’t think I would have been able to act in the same dignified way. Julia is a strong, independent character who seems to make the most of everything and just deals with things as they come. I was just wishing for some happiness to come her way.
The only thing that I didn’t really like with this book is Julia’s friend Rose’s story, there was a certain part about her relationship with her husband that was predictable and far-fetched and personally I just don’t think this part needed to be in the book. Having said this I did really like Rose as a character, she was a great supportive friend to Julia.
This is a touching, romantic read that follows a very complicated and troubled relationship. What a fantastic debut, I’m looking forward to her next release.