Hello My Love by Evy Journey – Review

In this modern-day tale inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, bright, beautiful law student Elise Halverson looks forward to a promising career. Falling in love is low in her priorities.

Well-known playboy Greg Thorpe is engaged to be married when he meets Elise. He finds her so unlike the women he used to date and he’s deeply intrigued. Distrusting the image she has of him, Elise avoids him.

But Elise’s parents invite Greg to their frequent dinner parties. There, Greg and Elise butt heads. She’s surprised to find that, behind his rich playboy persona, he’s intelligent and engaging.

The night before his wedding, they give in to their mutual attraction. Although Elise expects nothing more from that night, Greg is in for trouble. His jilted fiancée strikes back, intent on revenge.

Two years later Greg and Elise get a second chance but they find that the way to their happy-ever-after is not so easy.

At the core of this women’s fiction is a literary and realistic romance spiced with a twist of mystery. Hello My Love is Book 1 in the series Between Two Worlds, a family saga about three strong women.

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Evy Journey, 2015 SPR (Self Publishing Review) Independent Woman Author awardee, is a writer, a wannabe artist (since she was nine years old), and a flâneuse (feminine form of flâneur). Her pretensions to being a flâneuse means she wishes she lives in Paris where people have perfected the art of aimless roaming. She’s visited Paris, even lived there a few times as a transient; that is, she stayed from two to six months.

She’s a writer because beautiful prose seduces her and existential angst continues to plague her even though such preoccupations have gone out of fashion. She takes occasional refuge by invoking the spirit of Jane Austen and spinning tales of love, loss, and finding one’s way—stories into which she weaves mystery or intrigue and sets in various locales.

In a previous life, armed with a Ph.D. and fascinated by the psyche, she researched and shepherded the development of mental health programs. And wrote like an academic. Not a good thing if you want to sound like a normal person. So, she began to write fiction (mostly happy fiction) as an antidote.

Evy’s latest book is the contemporary women’s fiction, Hello, My Love.

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Book Excerpt:

“Going to your parents’ dinner tonight?” Elise could not help smiling at the text message.

She texted back: “Yes. See you.”

Greg had been sending her text messages for some time. Often, they were greetings, in the morning, at night, on school holidays; or good luck wishes on exams, debates, and mock trials. Sometimes, he asked her opinion or a question about a legal matter or some fact of interest to either of them. She answered most of those messages although he told her she did not need to, if they were the usual greetings.

Before they met, Elise had known Greg—from numerous news reports—as the young, progressive owner of a growing internet-based business, and one of the country’s twenty-five most eligible bachelors. The consensus in the media, especially among women reporters: tall, dark, and handsome. But Greg also had a reputation as a playboy, whose many romances were fodder for gossip columns. While Elise hesitated judging looks and personality, sight unseen, she was certain of one thing. She distrusted the likes of men such as Greg.

But that was a year ago.

Since he began consulting with her father, Dr. Halverson, an economics professor, Greg had been to many dinners at her parents’ home. There, Elise got to know him better.

Now, when curious acquaintances learned she knew Greg, they invariably asked, and Elise hardly ever varied her answer: “Yes, to news reports. Greg Thorpe is tall—taller than my father who’s more than six feet. Dark—tanned from jogging, bushy hair the color of French Roast woven with golden strands. And beautiful—clean-cut, cleft chin, smiling greyish blue eyes, and, yeah, lean. But, I think, muscular. I’m not sure. I haven’t seen him without his clothes on.”

It always amused her that her incantation never failed to elicit sighs from young women.

Elise was about to slip her iPhone into her shirt pocket when it rang. Greg—she expected that. He often answered her text messages within minutes of her sending them, usually by texting. Once in a while, he called instead.

“Hello, Elise. How’s the light of my life this afternoon?” Greg said, in his teasing voice.

“Greg, hi. That’s quick. Aren’t you busy?”

“Not for you. And I’m glad you picked up. I was afraid you’d turn off your phone again.”

“I can’t turn it on in class, when I’m studying, or when I’m at work, and that’s almost my whole day.”

“Are you staying over at your parents after dinner?”

“I don’t plan such things. Depends. How late it is when dinner ends, whether I have some easy way to get back to my apartment, how guilty I feel about not having seen my parents for a while, etc., etc.”

“I see. It’s Friday so I thought you‘re staying the night with them. Can I give you a ride home?”

Elise protested. “But I live across the bay. That’s sixty more miles of driving for you, both ways.”

“Less than an hour in my fast powerful car.”

She smiled. Only when she opened up to him a few months after they first met did she realize that Greg had a wry, often self-mocking, sense of humor.

She teased him back. “But don’t you need your beauty sleep? Aren’t you getting married in two days? I’m surprised you’re even coming to my parents’ dinner party. I always thought weddings were exhausting. Don’t you need to rest up for yours?”

“Think of this as my last fling.”

“Isn’t that when your buddies get you all soused and cavorting with some pretty young things? You definitely need stamina for that.”

He groaned. “I’m afraid you have this unflattering image of me. But, believe it or not, that prospect doesn’t excite me. I feel too old for all that.”

“Thirty-two’s not old. To me, old is decrepit. You’re not quite there yet.”

“I’m glad you think so. Twenty-year olds think thirty is old”

“I turned twenty-three a few weeks ago,” she said, her smile replaced with pursed lips.

“That still makes you a young thing in my book. What if I cavort with you?”

Elise scowled. She couldn’t think of a quick retort, which she knew Greg had come to expect from her. It was not that what he said irritated her. And she didn’t actually dislike it. But she felt a vague sense of unease in her chest.

“I’m kidding. I know you’re not the cavorting type. But we’re buddies, right? Well, more like sparring partners, maybe. Don’t buddies kid around?”

That’s it, Elise thought. I’m not the pretty, young cavorting type. At least, I didn’t think he thought so. It didn’t annoy her, but it did bother her in some way. She did not answer.

He added in a softer voice, “Am I wrong?”

She picked up an edge to his voice and she hesitated through the ensuing silence; for her, an uneasy silence relieved only by his audible breathing. He was going to wait until she said something.

“I guess we are…friends, or whatever you wanna call it. That makes everything all right, then; kidding included. So, yes, you can take me home tonight. What’s sixty miles between buddies? No guilt, on my part, that you’re going out of your way. I gotta run.” She hung up and did not wait for his reply.

 

My Review –

The cover of the book was a nice draw. I don’t know about you but I love a cover that speaks to me. I liked the story; some parts more than others. The first part of the book was a great story and I enjoyed the author’s writing style. At the beginning, the characters seem aloof, but as the story progresses, and you begin to find out more and more about how the characters got to where they are, the trials in their lives and life in general, and you see that there is a lot more to the person than meets the eye.

Many times books will jump into the plot, but in this book, the author shows how the relationship between the two main characters developed over a year and I found that intriguing. I thought the first part of the book read as a novella and I would have been good with the story ending at that point as I enjoyed the love story. As the book continued, I had a hard time focussing on the rest of the story. It may have been because I felt the story could have ended. I really haven’t been able to pin point why I lost interest.

I will recommend the book because I enjoyed the first part of the story so much. If you read the book, I would love to hear your comments.

 

Spicing Up A Love Story: Delectable Dishes

Evy Journey

We are what we eat. So, we’re told. We often interpret this to refer to our physical health. In a novel, food can do much more. It can offer a glimpse into the setting of a scene and the personalities of main characters. In Hello My Love, the main characters meet and eat at an Indian restaurant. This tells us at least two things: they’re open-minded, having been exposed to things exotic or unfamiliar to many Americans; and the story takes place in a cosmopolitan city.

Delectable dishes are more prominent in Hello, My Love than they are in the 19th-century romance novels it pays homage to. Characterization, style, and plot of Hello, My Love borrow from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South.

People In 19th-century England had no movies, television, iPads, cellphones, theme parks, and computer games to entertain them. Their main source for pleasant distraction and socializing were dinners and balls (where food, of course, was often served). Heroes and heroines of the period often met, talked, flirted, and found themselves falling in love at balls and dinner parties Tea was also served quite often with little sandwiches and cakes. Tea-drinking and afternoon tea, in fact, came into fashion in Regency England (early 1800s).

As important as such convivial occasions are in those novels, not much is devoted to describing meals served. I only found one such reference in Pride and Prejudice and 18 times in N&S, but mostly in relation to making food available for the poor working class.

You’ll find many food scenes in Hello, My Love. Though lessened in this age of social media, we still meet to socialize and we often eat where we meet. In a middle chapter, Greg and Elise have dinner in an Indian restaurant where she orders a plate of tandoori lamb and a glass of mango lassi. As in P&P and N&S, the “attachment” between Elise and Greg develop at dinner parties. At one dinner to which Greg receives a spur-of-the-moment invitation, Elise’s mother serves a Moroccan tagine.

Invited to dine at a little village near Aix-en-Provence in France, Elise and Greg find delectable dishes that include roast and ratatouille baked in a 7th-century stone oven. At their wedding celebration, the piece de resistance is a sucking pig, roasted for hours to yield crispy skin.

Scenes involving food and drink will not only make your mouth water, they also help define mood and setting.

 

 

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