A fresh start in a new place. But are the past and the present about to collide?
Gennie moves back to Cornwall in search of a fresh start. Working for Marion’s children’s charity seems perfect. Tucked away in the countryside, close to an artists’ community, it’s a place for Gennie and her daughter, Alice, to rebuild their lives in peace and quiet – until ex-soldier Jack comes along with the same idea in mind, a face from the past, forcing Gennie to confront things she would rather forget and igniting fears of another turbulent relationship.
Involving herself with Jack and his problems is the last thing she needs, not now she’s made new friends and opportunities are opening up again, but can either find happiness and a new direction without the other?
Sofia Due lives and works in London but spends much of her time in North Cornwall, which inspired the setting for this book. She works as a lawyer, specialising in asylum and human rights claims and often acts for victims of modern slavery. Her debut novel, Ed & Lily, was published in 2021. Finding Jack is her second novel.
Trina G (Guest reviewer) (Guest Review) - 30 Oct, 2023
I loved this book devouring it in one weekend, I will be on the lookout for more by Sofia that’s for sure! Thoroughly recommend
Julia Wilson (Guest Review) - 16 Oct, 2023
Finding Jack by Sofia Due is a beautiful cotemporary novel that tugged on my emotions.
It is heartbreaking to witness the effects of war on a character who was the lone survivor of a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. “It can be difficult to be the one who comes home.” Even years later, guilt and grief still consume aa character. He survived. His pals didn’t. He came home in his body but his mind is still wandering in Afghanistan.
We also witness the devastating effects of alcoholism on a family after a father drank himself to death. “He chose to carry on drinking when he knew it would kill him. It’s as if he chose to leave us.” To choose the bottle over his wife and daughter was a traumatic choice for those left behind.
Characters have to find a way through the pain. Some choose the bottle. Some have an emergency pack of cigarettes, just in case. Others channel their thoughts through artistic endeavour. They need to choose what will build them up and not what will drag them down.
There is a lot of love to go round as there is a home that helps house and educate disadvantaged youngsters. They are given a purpose again.
We witness the dreadful theme of exploitation and human trafficking. Those who have little are unscrupulously used, having their emotions manipulated, to work to bring loved ones over to Britain for a price – but it never happens.
Despite some very hard hitting themes, Finding Jack is a beautiful novel. We see new relationships form and old ones renewed. Love and loyalty loom large.
All the characters are realistic and likable. I loved the banter between the two leading ones.
The Cornish landscape comes to life under the author’s artistic pen. In contrast we travel to the factories in the back streets of Birmingham (also familiar to me as it’s my home town.)
I really enjoyed Finding Jack and did not want it to end. The novel spoke to my heart and made me smile.
I will leave you with a powerful quote:
“This was what happened when you smiled at the world, it smiled back.”
I received a free copy. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.
Emma Ashley (Guest Review) - 16 Oct, 2023
I absolutely adored this novel. This is the first book that I have read by the author and it definitely won't be the last. Sofia's writing is beautiful and the story kept me hooked as I wanted to find out if Gennie has her happy ever after. A beautiful novel that I highly recommend.
(Thank you to Troubadour publishing and the author for my copy of the book in exchange for an honest review)
Laura B (Guest Review) - 16 Oct, 2023
This novel is wonderful, absolutely wonderful. It’s warm and heartfelt and I’ve not come across as imperfect a romantic hero as Jack in a long time. He’s so flawed, and messy and tormented and difficult. He’s also a tease, and hardworking, and funny and gorgeous. He’s a returned soldier, an alcoholic, riddled with survivor guilt, and anger and all the demons. And yet….
Gennie has survived the death of alcoholic husband, is raising her young daughter and trying to keep it all together. She’s defensive, but not closed off. The absolute last thing she needs is Jack. And yet….
Sophie Due has lots to say in this romantic novel – about war and the damage it does to both civilians and soldiers, about young adult refugees, love, and marriage, and relationship breakdowns. But also about family, and community and how healing comes in unexpected ways. There's a lot going on, and well drawn support characters, plenty of action, good communication and an HEA.
If you want to read a romance that’s tender, and awkward, but also very very real, this is a cracker! Highly recommended.
Thank you to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for the ARC.
Hannah, Nasra & N, Reviewer (Guest Review) - 30 Oct, 2023
"Finding Jack" by Sofia Due is an engaging and emotionally charged contemporary romance. Due's storytelling is poignant, weaving a tale of love and second chances. The characters are relatable, and their journey of self-discovery and healing is beautifully portrayed. The novel captures the essence of connection, hope, and the power of the human heart. This is a heartwarming and captivating read for fans of love stories with depth.
Emily (Emzysbooks) (Guest Review) - 16 Oct, 2023
This was my first read of Sofia's and it certainly won't be my last! I absolutely loved this book. This book had happy moments but also really sad and emotional moments too. I've not experienced having anyone close to me serve in the army and seeing how it affects not just the person who serves but the people around them is really heartbreaking. You can see how Gennie is conflicted ,because of her loss of her husband to alcoholism, of wanting to care for Jack but not wanting to get hurt like before. I really loved their growth throughout the book of discovery what they want from life and one another and was really hoping throughout that they would get their happy ending like they both deserved. Another part of the book includes a storyline of poor Hamid who is a refugee and gets into something quite dangerous. It is so sad reading what lengths people go to to try and be safe in life but also trying to get in touch with their family. This was really upsetting but also a good awareness to readers of the book too. I really enjoyed this book and I will definitely be reading Sofia's other work in the future.
Laura (The BookishHermit) (Guest Review) - 16 Oct, 2023
This is a heartfelt story set in the picturesque countryside of Cornwall. The protagonist, Gennie, is looking for a fresh start and finds herself working at Marion's children's charity. The peaceful surroundings and close-knit artists' community seem like the perfect place for Gennie and her daughter, Alice, to rebuild their lives.
However, their tranquility is disrupted when Jack, an ex-soldier from Gennie's past, reenters her life with the same intention of starting anew. This unexpected reunion forces Gennie to confront her past and face her fears of getting involved in another tumultuous relationship.
What initially seems like an unwanted complication turns into a tale of self-discovery and the search for happiness. Despite her reluctance to get entangled with Jack's problems, Gennie finds herself drawn towards him. As she grapples with her emotions, Gennie realizes that she might not be able to find happiness and a new direction without confronting her past and taking a leap of faith.
The novel beautifully captures the essence of Cornwall, creating a vivid backdrop for the characters' emotional journey. The author skillfully portrays Gennie's struggles and internal conflicts, making her a relatable and sympathetic protagonist. The supporting cast of characters adds depth and complexity to the story, with their own hurdles and aspirations.
The pacing of the narrative is well-balanced, allowing readers to fully immerse themselves in Gennie's world. The exploration of themes such as love, forgiveness, and personal growth adds depth and substance to the plot, making it more than just a simple romance.
Overall, this was a heartfelt and engaging novel that explores the complexities of relationships, self-discovery, and the pursuit of happiness. With its beautiful setting and well-drawn characters, it is a book that will resonate with readers looking for a touching and uplifting story.
Staceywh_17 (Guest Review) - 16 Oct, 2023
An ex soldier caught in a roadside bomb, who struggles daily with the effects of this and the loss of his friends? This is Jack's story, but it's identical to what happened to my partner when he was serving in the military the only differences being he was in Germany and suffered complex spinal injuries.
I've never read a book by Due before and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to thanks to Rachel's Random Resources.
The characters are relatable and broken but as they say 'broken crayons still colour' and everyone deserves the chance to be happy.
Finding Jack is a beautifully written contemporary romance that will tug at your heartstrings and play with your emotions. I'm a sucker for a second chance romance and kept everything crossed that there was going to be a HEA.
Definitely a storyline and characters to become emotionally invested in, even if it was a bit close to home in places.
Tyler Marshall (Titleswtyler) (Guest Review) - 16 Oct, 2023
A second chance romance you wont be able to put down!
I devoured this romance between these two wounded main characters. Sofia did an amazing job of not only making these characters so relatable but having amazing back stories that they felt so realistic I forgot I was reading a book at certain points. I instantly fell in love with Jack he's the perfect grumpy hero that we all need in our lives.
I really enjoyed when the two charters met again after knowing each other previously and the spark is still there even if the encounter is awkward. Through out the read you get to see not only the connection between these two grow but the banter and love that follows really adds to the read and gets you thrown into this romance. This book is low angst but it will definitely pull on your heart strings as it does deal with heavier topics but its done so well that you don't feel overwhelmed or to heavy when you're finished.
I love me a second chance romance with older characters and this book really did it for me, from how the plot effortlessly flowed to the many heart touching moments I will definitely be reading more by this author.
RF (Guest Reviewer) (Guest Review) - 30 Oct, 2023
What a great journey this book was.
Not in the pack-your-bag-we're-off-on-an-adventure sense, but in the unpredictable, pushing the reader to grow along with the characters. I am all for this second type of travels, myself.
We meet Gennie, recently widowed, single mom of Alice, picking up the pieces of her life and trying to make sense of it. She's not your typical, relatable main character (not to me, in any case) that you'd normally expect - she's flawed, oddly self-centered despite working a selfless job at a home for foster children. She's private, introverted and at times judgmental. I found it especially difficult to bond with her in the beginning, but I still wanted to be there for her. Who knows how you will react when your life is turned upside down?
I loved that she takes time for herself too, Gennie goes to an art center to paint! Where she meets Jack, the butt of the village gossip and her employer's son. Incidentally, Jack is also her what-if, the road-not-taken romantically from her past.
Like her, Jack is a flawed, baggage-filled character, the kind of person your mom would advise you to stay away from in real life. If Gennie hadn't known him from before their paths separated, I would have honestly rooted for them to stay apart.
Finding Jack is about how Gennie starts to heal from her wounds by having Jack in her life once again. Their reconnection is labored, gradual and intense. I loved that they don't dive blind into their newfound relationship, instead slowly making space for them in their lives and in their individual healing processes.
By Finding Jack, Gennie not only finds also herself, but higher purpose, because, while this book is tagged as Romance and Women's Fiction, some of the other underlying topics are more serious and enrich the story in the most wonderful, heart warming way.
Easiest five-star rating this year.
Great thanks to The Book Guild and NetGalley for the ARC. All opinions are my own