Title: The ‘True Love’ Solution
Author: Julie Bozza
Publisher: Manifold Press
Length: 176 Pages
At a Glance: Archie, Leonard, and the strength of the opening chapters and the final chapter saved this one for me.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Jules Madigan loves his family and he loves his job. The only thing he’s missing out on is a Happy Ever After, like the ones written by his favourite romance author Ewan Byge. While he’s waiting for that HEA, Jules indulges himself in buying Ewan’s old typewriter as memorabilia – before realising he’s been defrauded. Through the fraud case, he makes friends with Police Constable Leonard Edgar – and through Leonard, Jules even gets to meet and work with Ewan Byge Himself! But the course of True Love never did run smooth, and soon Jules has to face some harsh realities.
Review: When The ‘True Love’ Solution popped up on my radar I was quite excited to read it. Having read Julie Bozza previously—her Butterfly Hunter series was quite lovely—and enjoying her work, I thought this one sounded promising as well. And, much of the time it was. It had lots of British quirk and charm, which I absolutely adore, as well as a couple of characters I immediately fell in love with. But, at times it was also sort of an exercise in patience. It was one of those, “I wanna hug this guy! Wait…I wanna smack this guy! Ohhhh…yes! That’s wonderful! Wait….Nooooooooo! Don’t do that!” There were some things I really, really liked, and then some things I really, really wish had gone differently.
One of the characters I immediately fell in love with was Jules’ dad, Archie. This guy…I can’t tell you enough how wonderful he was and how much I loved him to pieces. He was one of the best examples of unconditional and just…pure love I’ve ever read. He was a single parent through most of Jules’ life, which made them very close, and has now moved in with Jules and Jules’ best friend, Jem. Archie’s relationship with Jules (and Jem also, really) is solid gold. So, yeah…singing all the praises for him.
Without a doubt, my other favorite character was Leonard. Stalwart, kind, handsome, and sweet on Jules; he was such a catch. I loved his subtlety and how he so obviously respected and adored Jules. And, also how he straight away wanted to look out for Archie. He was such good people. Jules was also likeable for the most part. He was sweet, smart, and fun-loving. And, of course I loved that he loved romance novels. However fond I was of Jules, though, I also wanted to smack some sense into him on a few occasions during the story.
Ok, let’s talk about the actual story. I was completely on board when it started off. Jules was funny and adorable. I loved, and obviously could relate to, his obsession with romance novels. And, I found his infatuation with one author in particular—a Mr. Ewan Byge—to be endearing and fun. I loved that he bought the manuscript page, and how supportive and cute his dad was about it. I didn’t like how weird Jem was about Jules’ choice to buy the page, and then, later, the typewriter. Her reaction over him being defrauded with the typewriter purchase was completely out of left field. She acted like Jules had lost her money, and then immaturely stormed off. So weird. That aside, though, things started off strong in terms of story pacing, and where things were headed.
Then Ewan Byge showed up.
At first I thought it was cool that he was there. He felt bad about it being his item Jules was misled into thinking was genuine, and wanted to help with the case if he could. Great. It was even fine that he was being a bit cheeky and flirty with Jules. No matter that Leonard was already expressing interest…we knew that this was Jules’ “celebrity crush” and that his head would be turned. But, things went downhill for me when Ewan started being sleazy and obviously leading Jules on, and when Jules just blindly went along with it. They even shared an intimate moment that felt so incongruous and unnecessary. I was not a fan of the direction Bozza took things here at all. I get the Pride and Prejudice tie-in, which was even referenced in the book, where Byge is Wickham, and Jules needed to be involved with him in order to finally see his Darcy…but, I still didn’t like it.
I must say, though, despite being unhappy with how Jules was portrayed, and how much of a flake he looked like with the way he “chose” Leonard (I’m using quotes because he really only went to Leonard because Byge turned out to be a shit), I still thoroughly enjoyed the end of the book and how truly sweet they were together. Archie, Leonard, and the strength of the opening chapters and the final chapter saved this one for me.
You can buy The ‘True Love’ Solution here: