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Two For Joy By Helen Chandler

Two For Joy‘Two For Joy’ is Helen Chandler’s debut novel.

Julia has it all, a job that she loves, great friends and a cute house of her own in Walthamstow. But there’s one thing missing. Julia longs to meet the right man and more than anything, to have a baby. When will Mr Right Show his face? Julia and Toby have been best friends since university, but apart from a few drunken kiss they’ve never been more than friends. But when Toby announces that he’s planning on asking Ruby, his young, gorgeous dancer girlfriend of less than six months to marry him. Julia feels a sensation that is deeper than envy. And when the proposal culminates in a dramatic break-up of, both Julia and Toby, realise that what they want has been there all along in each other. A romantic weekend in Brighton confirms it: Julia and Toby are meant to be. Then Ruby doubts a bombshell, she’s pregnant and although Toby loves Julia and wants to be with her, he feels that it’s only right to stick by Ruby for the baby’s sick. Devastated Julia is left to move on and turns to her best friend, Rose for support but Rose has problems of her own, despite their comfy lifestyle, and gorgeous baby, her husband Graeme doesn’t seem very interested in her anymore.

I really enjoyed ‘Two For Joy’ and thought it was a wonderful first novel from newcomer, Helen Chandler.

Seen from the perspectives of best friends Julia and Toby and occasionally through the eyes of unsettled and immature Ruby through the twists and turns of their lives, we see how easily love can blossom from friendship and just how far from glamorous and difficult the possibility of being a single mother can be. The different sides of the story give a nice mixture of entertainment as the three main characters battle with new and unwanted feelings and scenarios. I enjoyed Julia immensely I thought that she settled beautifully into the maternal role, as caring and nursing are part of her sweet nature and there are occasional moments when she has a freak out and realises just how far from perfect her life is and those scenes can make for tender reading as she fights with family and friends over her mixed emotions. Toby, as the male lead of the story, makes an unfortunate, sweet and attractive character, delighted that he has eventually found his happy ever after in the shape of his best friend, he can only look on in horror as his dream life is rapidly pulled from his grip.

‘Two For Joy’ is a wonderfully written debut from Helen. Written in a lovely laid back style that quickly absorbs the readers attention and provides witty, warmhearted reading, with regular giggles and loads of fun, the story explores the complexity of relationships, misunderstandings and drama of first babies and second chances.

You can pre-order Two for Joy on Amazon and is available from good bookshops from 6th June 2013.

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