The next much-anticipated romantic chapter in Billy and Sophie’s love story from bestselling author Giovanna Fletcher.
Sophie’s got used to being the girlfriend of Billy Buskin, the biggest movie star in the world. Sort of.
But when she and Billy take a trip to visit his family in Los Angeles, she quickly discovers she’s totally unprepared for the chaos of Hollywood, the paparazzi and Billy’s controlling mother.
And when Billy extends his stay in LA, leaving Sophie to fly home to Rosefont Hill alone, it seems there’s more than just miles between them.
Now Sophie must decide if they can overcome their differences for good. Because not every love story lasts the distance . . ..
Despite having my issues with the first book in this series, I was still excited to read Always With Love by Giovanna Fletcher, hoping that I would feel more of a connection to the characters this time around.
The book opens with Sophie May’s first trip to LA with her actor boyfriend, Billy Buskin. She is due to meet his family for the first time, who moved across the pond when his career hit the big time. Understandably nervous, Sophie has been living in a loved-up bubble for the last three months following Billy’s sabbatical from the limelight. He has temporarily given up acting to spend time with her in her village teashop, enjoying the normality of everyday life compared to the hustle and bustle of Hollywood.
Upon their arrival in LA Sophie is swept away by the excitement of a new city and the spectacular home which Billy’s family share. It is a marked contrast to her modest lifestyle, with Billy’s family benefitting from the use of a housekeeper and a chauffeur, not to mention the cameras that start flashing whenever a glimpse of Billy is spotted. It soon becomes apparent which members of the family Sophie will get along with the most, and that Billy’s mother is desperate for him to step back into the spotlight so she can continue living the LA dream.
Despite his protestations to the contrary, Billy is soon tempted back to the world of acting when a famous director drops a script on his doorstep which promises to be a project he cannot refuse. The only downside is that the filming will take place in LA, and Sophie has no choice but return to the UK to ensure the safe running of the teashop. With a three month separation on the horizon, will their relationship be able to survive this latest trial, or are their lives simply too different?
Unfortunately, I found that I really didn’t care whether Billy and Sophie stayed together or not, as their characters were not much improved from the first book. Billy still feels as enigmatic as ever, with little being done to make him feel relatable and real. Instead, we are forever told how wonderful he is and what a superb actor, and how lucky Sophie feels to be with him. Several attempts are made to make him into the romantic hero, with him sending Sophie letters throughout their separation, but at the same time he maintains the egotistical Hollywood attitude that makes him appear like a spoilt brat. For example, he thinks he can simply pay for a plane ticket and Sophie will come running, disregarding her business as a viable commitment.
Of course, Sophie does try to put him in his place and reiterates that it is more important for her to be at the shop and to help with her mother’s upcoming wedding plans, but her neurosis is also infuriating to read. As soon as she and Billy are separated we are faced with the constant paranoia that he is going to do something stupid in LA and run off with a pretty actress, or do something bad on a night out, or forget about her altogether. She seemed to expect that he would give up acting forever to be with her, and seems totally unreasonable in her reaction to him wanting to take on this new project.
I must admit that I grew more and more frustrated and fed up with Sophie as this book continued, and just wanted her to grow up and stop having pathetic tantrums when things wouldn’t go her way. I don’t think the separation plotline helped in developing her character, as instead we are shown the worst side of her and she is more at risk of doing something bad than Billy. The plot moves in a somewhat predictable direction where she is concerned, and I must admit that I wasn’t impressed with the slight cliché used to advance the plot.
After reading this second installment I have to say that this series just isn’t one for me, and that I will be waiting to see what Fletcher comes up with next, as her other titles have impressed me a lot more than this one. If you’re a fan of the first book then you might enjoy seeing how the story progresses between Sophie and Billy, but for me the plot and the characters were simply too frustrating and I almost put the book down out of anger several times. This has by no means put me off Fletcher’s work, but I have not fallen in love with Sophie and Billy’s story.
ABOUT GUEST REVIEWER REBECCA CHANDLER
English graduate turned accountant, with a passion for all things paranormal. Loves reading with a nice cup of coffee in hand and is always on the look out for the next book to add to the mountainous TBR pile!
Thanks for the wonderful Review!