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    Beautiful and insightful, it's a must read!

    Beautiful Messy Love is the second novel published by Tess Woods. Her writing proves to be beautifully written and thoroughly enjoyable. Her story intertwines two love stories in an interesting way and brings you through a full range of emotions; intrigue, happiness, sorrow, joy, pride, sadness, and love. It’s filled with emotional themes; dreams and goals, relationships and love, death and suicide, new life and new beginnings, starting over and letting go. Letting go of the person that you were and allowing yourself to be the person that you want to be, overcoming past losses and learning to live again are also themes in the story. It has an interesting political perspective and makes you realize that you shouldn't label people under a stereotype based on their religion or political background [or in general]. Just because someone is Muslim and doesn't wear a hijab doesn’t mean that they don’t pray to Allah and respect other people and want goodness and peace in the world. Often times when things aren't going your way, it's important to gain new perspective to help guide you to where you want to be in life.  This novel is a prime example of how women’s fiction should be written. Beautiful prose, ideas that give new perspective and make you think. The story doesn’t focus on just one individual but rather it’s interconnected with other important characters and isn’t that a beautiful metaphor for life itself? You are not alone. Your life touches the lives of those around you and often times you’re all the better for it. You learn from one another, you learn how to love, you learn how to live, you learn how to keep living after loss. You support one another and ultimately, you grow - whether together or apart. You end up on the path that works for you, even if you veer off in the wrong direction at times. With insight and perspective, you will always find love. Beautiful, messy, and everlasting love. Personal side note: I love that Tess named one of her characters after me! Her character Arielle and I don't have much in common, but I loved seeing my name in print!!
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    All-time favourite!

    Tess Woods's debut novel, Love at First Flight, stayed with me long after I finished reading it, so I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of her second novel, especially when I discovered that Beautiful Messy Love was the story of the children from the first book. Beautiful Messy Love is a stand alone novel, though. You don't need to have read Love at First Flight to enjoy it, but once you read it I'm sure you'll fall in love with Tess's incredible writing and rush out to grab a copy. I was lucky enough to receive an advance ebook copy and devoured it within a couple of days. I also received a surprise paperback advance copy too. I loved the story so much that I bought the audiobook the day it released and finished that within a couple of days, too. So now, I have the whole set! Wow! This was the best audiobook I've ever listened to - and I've listened to almost 200 audiobooks. There are four different narrators that are perfectly matched to the four different point of view characters. The book was a five-star read anyway, but this extra attention to detail took it to the next level. If you're an audiobook fan - this is an auto buy. If you're not sure about audio then this book is a great place to start. The narrator for Toby - SWOON! I found Lily very relatable - in my early 20s, I also struggled with studying a difficult university degree and debated whether to finish it. My heart went out to Anna and I loved Tante Rosa - the grumpy Egyptian matriarch made me smile. My favourite character would be Toby's brother, John - he cracked me up so many times with his inappropriate, self-absorbed comments. He was like the Aussie version of Joey from Friends - but more of a prick (and his girlfriend's name was Renee - I'd never put up with his crap, though). I went from laughing at hilarious one-liners to sobbing, on multiple occasions - a roller coaster of emotions. Two intertwining love stories, overcoming issues of race, religion, fame and grief. This book is firmly at the top of my Best of 2017 list.
6

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