Published: 4th October 2016
Publisher: Little Brown
Russell Green has it all: a loving family, a successful career and a beautiful house. But underneath his seemingly perfect world, cracks are beginning to appear . . . and no one is more surprised than Russ when the life he took for granted is turned upside down. Finding himself single-handedly caring for his young daughter, while trying to launch his own business, the only thing Russ knows is that he must shelter his little girl from the consequences of these changes. As Russ embarks on this daunting and unexpected new chapter of his life, a chance encounter will challenge him to find a happiness beyond anything he could ever have imagined.
Thank you to Little Brown for kindly sending me a review copy.
The highly anticipated new novel from Nicholas Sparks opens with two becoming three. Russell and his wife Vivian have welcomed a beautiful baby girl, London into their lives and within a matter of moments, they both fell made in love with their bundle of joy. Nicholas Sparks captures their admiration for this little person perfectly and their lives were portrayed so beautifully from the very beginning. I instantly enjoyed reading about the Green family, despite their marriage being rocky, and I knew that their story, wherever it would take me, would not disappoint.
“When you start trying to figure out what went wrong – or, more specifically, where you went wrong – it’s a bit like peeling an onion. There’s always another layer, another mistake in the past or a painful memory that stands out…”
When Russ quits his job to start his own company, it isn’t as easy as he thought it would be and within the first few weeks, he really struggles to get the ball rolling and yet without the support from his wife or family, he continues to try and make the business a success. With several days at home between client meetings, Russ quickly becomes a Stay-At-Home-Dad whilst his wife Vivian receives a full time job in PR and he’s not particularly thrilled that she’s begun to keep little secrets from him. The tension between the married couple was uncomfortable to say the least and yet I couldn’t help but admire the way Nicholas Sparks had wrote their bickers so brilliantly, it was as if I was standing in their living room watching them snap away at one another.
“Guilt, in other words, isn’t always wasted. It can keep us from making the same mistake twice.”
Towards half way through the narrative, Vivian’s behaviour begins to change and when Russ’s family members start to notice, so does he. From the passive aggressive shouting at their daughter London to talking about her boss Walter 24/7 to secret phone calls; it wasn’t difficult to work out that something was going on and sooner rather than later, Russ noticed it as well. When Emily, a former girlfriend of Russ comes back into his life, I hoped that she would be able to put the smile back on his face. Nicholas allowed her character to come across with such elegance and beauty, she didn’t carry the bitterness that Vivian did. Every so often within the narrative, Nicholas would allow Russ to remember important life events such as helping his sister in a time of need, meeting Emily for the first time, deciding to marry Vivian and of course, the day London was born amongst other life moments. I really enjoyed this aspect of the plot as it allows readers to understand Russ more as a character and as the narrative continued, I admired him as a person more and more; his work ethic was strong, he was a family man and most of all, he was a brilliant Dad.
“Instead, that was the weekend when once more, my world began to collapse around me. But this time, it was even worse.”
Towards the end of the narrative, Russ and his family receive some truly heart breaking news and despite Nicholas Sparks planting little hints here and there, it was still an emotional chapter to read. With times being tough, it allows Russ to become aware of what he wants in life – does he want to rekindle his love for his former girlfriend Emily or is he happy being by himself? With the impending divorce with Vivian, things quickly go from bad to damn right nasty and majority of the time, my mouth was open with shock. We all know that Nicholas Sparks writes romance very well but he can also write a bitch of a character when needs be. The end of the book was emotional, heart breaking but it was also lovely to read about how one person can change several lives for the better. Two By Two has quickly become one of my favourite Nicholas Sparks books and it is definitely one to remember.