The Will (Magdelene, #1) by Kristen Ashley
Early in her life, Josephine Malone learned the hard way that there was only one person she could love and trust: her grandmother, Lydia Malone.
Out of necessity, unconsciously and very successfully, Josephine donned a disguise to keep all others at bay. She led a globetrotting lifestyle on the fringes of the fashion and music elite, but she kept herself distant.
While Josephine was trotting the globe, retired boxer Jake Spear was living in the same small town as Lydia. There was nothing disguised about Jake. Including the fact he made a habit of making very bad decisions about who to give his love.
But for Josephine and Jake, there was one person who adored them. One person who knew how to lead them to happiness. And one person who was intent on doing it.
Even if she had to do it as her final wish on this earth.
Emma - 5 Crowns
Well, I am ashamed to admit this is only my 4th book from an author who has released many highly-rated and much loved novels. I loved Motorcycle Man, Own The wind and Fire Inside but anyone who has read those books will know how different they are to this. For that reason alone I was eager to see if Ms Ashley's writing not only crossed over into a genre that would be much less gritty and raw but also interested to see if I would enjoy it as much as I had her MC based books.
The Will is a fabulous and unique love story. It tells the story of Josephine Malone, a photographer's assistant in her mid 40's coming back to the little Maine town of Magdalene to bury her beloved Grandmother, Lydia.
Lydia has been the only real parent Josephine has had following an incident with a unloving Dad in her teenage years and in the absence of her mother. Lydia had also been her best friend and so it is hard travelling back to Magdalene to bury Lydia and sort out her estate, especially Lavender House; a beautiful large house she calls her home. We meet Josephine at Lydia's funeral and apart from many faces she has known over the years, she inparticularly notices a tall dark and handsome stranger who is attending the funeral with his 3 children. She doesn't get chance to speak to the man but does witness an altercation outside with his daughter.
Having a very close relationship with Lydia, she doesn't understand what this man could be doing at the service as she has never heard Lydia discuss him and she has certainly never met him on her many visits home. The following Day she attends the reading of the Will. Josephine is very surprised that she will be joined in the meeting by a Mr J Spears. Low and behold, when he turns up late it is none other than the man from the funeral. The Lawyer reads the Will and as expected everything is left to Josephine except £150,000, which Lydia leaves in trust to Mr Spears 3 children. The solicitor than reads a letter to them explaining that her most treasured possession is Josephine and she leaves her to Jake.
Yes, genius concept for a book and the story really moves on from there. I will leave the story overview at that as I don't want to spoil what happens from this point forward, needless to say the story follows Josie and Jake and how their lives start to entwine.
Josephine is such a superb character. At the start of the book, you get the impression that she is a bit hoity toity but in fact you couldn't be more wrong. She is a women with a sad past who has cut herself off from living life to protect herself from hurt. Throwing herself into her work as an assistant to Henry, a famous photographer for 23 years, she has mixed with celebrities and is well travelled in the glamorous world of high fashion. This doesn't mean that her life is any less lonely though especially as she has spent most of those 23 years in unrequited love with Henry.
Josie is a caring and loving character that you will fall in love with. her personality flourishes throughout the book and you see what a selfless person she really is; you will routing for her to find her happiness. She will make you laugh with her personality traits, and the way she speaks and gets people on side will humour you. She is very proper and straight laced and has an old worldliness about her.
Jake Spears is VERY different to Josie. He is the owner of the local strip club and boxing gym and has 3 failed marriages behind him, but 1st and foremost he is an amazing father to 3 children: Connor 17, Amber 16 and Ethan 8. He is loud, brash and seriously Alpha. I LOVED him!! He isn't someone that Josie would normally look at twice, but is exactly what Josie needs in her life and Lydia was obviously very aware of that when she made her will.
There are lots of other characters in this book and you will love most of them; the kids are fab as are the 2 Taylor's, Mickey and Alyssa.
This is a story of friendship, family trust and love. The drama isn't harsh or gritty but is drama that we all have in our lives. It is a story of how your life becomes connected with others and suddenly those people become your life. It will make you laugh out loud on more than one occasion but you will also feel sad and emotional in others. It is a journey for Josie to discover how life can be if you let it and Jake and his kids are central to that discovery.
So I have to say, this is as different as you can get to the other Kristen Ashley books I have read. This however is a good thing as it shows how diverse she is as an author. As with all the books I have read, her character development is fantastic. She has a way of grabbing your attention and reeling you into her little bubble. There are laughs, highs, lows, angst and of course steam... and as I am now realising Ms Ashley writes one hell of a good Alpha!!! It is also refreshing to read a nice long book that covers a whole story and doesn't jump through time and let you make assumptions on the characters. It is easy to do that as an author, but you get everything in this book and the story is better for it. So I think that after reading books by Ms Ashley at 2 very opposite ends of the spectrum, it is high time I get 1 clicking some more :)
The perfect read!
Elizabeth - 5 Crowns
I luv luv luv Kristen Ashley!!! I swear reading her books is like snuggling into a comfy blanket with a good cup of tea and enjoying the rain outside. Her books are just like coming home. She never lets me down!
This witty story was quite unique, with a very interesting premise. One of a loving grandmother, Lydia, giving her 40-something Granddaughter Josephine, to a man, the beautiful and very alpha Jake Spear, in her last will and testament.
I know what you're thinking, and its true, you can't legally give a human being to another one, especially in a will, but there is something to be said about a loved ones last wishes...
In this story you go through the ups and downs of Josie and Jake getting to know each other, their friends and families, their skeletons in their respectful closets, ex- wives, ex-lovers, and a gorgeous seaside home, Lavendar House...
Truly delightful, witty and beautifully written... but of course.. that is not surprising as it is, Kristen Ashley!