Beautiful Messy Love is a light romantic tale from the author of Love at First Flight.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
What happens when love and loyalty collide? Two couples must deal with the consequences of their messy love not just for themselves but for those who depend on them. For lovers of passionate romance in the vein of Nicolas Sparks.
When football star Nick Harding hobbles into the Black Salt Cafe the morning after the night before, he is served by Anna, a waitress with haunted-looking eyes and no interest in footballers famous or otherwise. Nick is instantly drawn to this exotic, intelligent girl. But a relationship between them risks shame for her conservative refugee family and backlash for Nick that could ruin his career.
Meanwhile, Nick’s sister, Lily, is struggling to finish her medical degree. When she meets Toby, it seems that for the first time she is following her heart, not the expectations of others. Yet what starts out as a passionate affair with a man who has just buried his wife slips quickly into dangerous dependency.
Through attraction, breakups, triumphs and tragedies, these two couples learn just how much their beautiful messy love might cost. A West Side Story for the modern day.
In Love at First Flight, Woods had two narrators (to read my review click here) and now in Beautiful Messy Love, there are four narrators whose narratives intersect. Two characters from Love at First Flight appear in Beautiful Messy Love (the children of Mel; Lily and Nick). I enjoyed this connection between the two books – I like it when authors have characters from other series or books show up and you are able to see them from a different perspective). Along with Lily and Nick, we have Anna (or Anwar) and Toby.
Lily is a medical student unsure of her decision to become a doctor, but sure of her relationship with Ben; that is, until he tells her he is moving to Nairobi to do humanitarian work. Instead of asking her to wait for him to come back (or proposing, as Lily had imagined was his intention), she must read between the lines that his missionary work means an end to their four year relationship. Devastated, she tries to hold it together at the hospital where she is doing her placement but finds herself blubbering to a stranger in the hospital cafe, Toby. Enigmatic and gorgeous, Toby strikes Lily’s interest and her crush is at first a helpful tonic to ease the pain of her breakup. But Toby comes with baggage and even if they are attracted to one another, Lily must decide whether he is capable of the type of love she wants and needs.
Anna is an Egyptian refugee who has her sights set on becoming a human rights lawyer. Nursing a mentally ill mother and a fellow refugee – a child who is battling cancer – romance is not in her plans until she meets Nick, who, unbeknownst to her, is a famous AFL player. Although she is initially hesitant, Anna gives lovestruck Nick the benefit of the doubt and decides to date him. But dating someone in the public eye brings its own challenges, and Anna already has enough personal demons to deal with. Will their love be strong enough to stand up to public scrutiny or will they both lose all that matters to them?
Beautiful Messy Love is a comic, entertaining, and light romantic drama that will keep you flicking through the pages. Although I preferred Love at First Flight, I feel that lovers of romance will quickly take to this second novel which, like Woods’ debut, charts the difficulties of love.