The Two of Us – Andy Jones

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10/10. Perfect for the genre, nice symbolism, not to twee. Right on the money.

“Falling in love is the easy part. What matters most is what happens next… Fisher and Ivy have been an item for a whole nineteen days. And they just know they are meant to be together. The fact that they know little else about each other is a minor detail. Over the course of twelve months, in which their lives will change forever, Fisher and Ivy discover that falling in love is one thing, but staying there is an entirely different story. The Two of Us is a charming, honest and heart-breaking novel about life, love, and the importance of taking neither one for granted.”

The Two of Us is a charming and bittersweet tale of a whirlwind romance between Fisher and Ivy, a couple who meet and quickly fall head over heels for each other. Though there are some differences between the two – Ivy is older than Fisher, and has a lot of facial and bodily scarring due falling through a glass table at a young age – on the surface they’re perfect for each other. Fisher works for an advertising company; Ivy does make-up for television and film actors.

Interestingly for a romance novel, The Two of Us is written from the male point of view (not surprising, given that the author is male) and far from giving it a jarring style, it works extremely well here. Heart-on-his-sleeve Fisher adores Ivy – it shines through the pages – and the relationship moves forward with speed. A ‘happy accident’ sees the pair move in together and start planning their future – and family – together. Nothing puts besotted Fisher off; not when Ivy can be a bit cold and distant, not when her older brother moves in and massively cramps their style, and not when a girl that Fisher’s working on an independent film with comes on to him. Not even when it turns out that the baby Ivy is carrying is actually twins – which will cramp their small flat, and modest budget, even further.

But their relationship is not without their troubles, and as Ivy grows in size Fisher finds himself dealing with new territory and picking his battles carefully (plus spending a fortune at his new local artisan butcher). Most of the book is taken up by documenting Ivy’s pregnancy; as his love for Fisher’s babies grows, so does his love for Ivy, though trying to deal with so many new aspects of their relationship at once – Ivy being pregnant, having just moved in together, having been together less than a year, Ivy being older – is trying at times. But their ultimate test will come when mother nature twists the knife cruelly in their happy little family situation and everything that they’ve built threatens to crumble…

The Two of Us is a genuinely lovely novel. Some sad elements aside – including the gradual worsening of Fisher’s best friend’s Huntington Disease – the happiness and love that the protagonist Fisher feels for Ivy seeps through the novel. It’s by no means perfect – the major plot twist is orchestrated in a slightly anti-climatic manner and there are times, if I was Fisher, that I genuinely would have wanted to throttle Ivy – but it’s a poignant and ultimately uplifting novel of an everyday, not-without-their-flaws couple finding love, making the best of difficult situations and, eventually, finding happiness together. A traditional storyline for the genre, but happiness is often underrated (and nonexistent in a lot of the ‘unreliable narrator’ novels dominating the market today). A tale as old as time it may be, but it’s a tale that I genuinely enjoyed reading, and felt emotionally invested in.

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