Early in her life, Josephine Malone learned the hard way that there was only one person she could love and trust: her grandmother, Lydia Malone. Out of necessity, unconsciously and very successfully, Josephine donned a disguise to keep all others at bay. She led a globetrotting lifestyle on the fringes of the fashion and music elite, but she kept herself distant.
While Josephine was trotting the globe, retired boxer Jake Spear was living in the same small town as Lydia. There was nothing disguised about Jake. Including the fact he made a habit of making very bad decisions about who to give his love.
But for Josephine and Jake, there was one person who adored them. One person who knew how to lead them to happiness. And one person who was intent on doing it.
Even if she had to do it as her final wish on this earth.
Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte
‘Life is like a boxing match. Defeat is declared not when you fall but when you refuse to stand again.’
J&G: Alas, we feel we must give The Will 5 Stars for to do otherwise would be unsightly…. (channeling our inner Josie here)
Jenny: Well, it’s been a while since I’ve delved into a Kristen Ashley book and I was absolutely chomping at the bit to get stuck in to The Will. After all, it’s KA, Jake is a boxer and it’s been too long since I’ve immersed myself in this author’s uniquely wonderful storytelling.
The Will certainly left me satisfied and as Kristen Ashley’s books invariably do, I was left feeling warm and uplifted once I came to the end. The last 10% of this story and THAT epilogue! Wow! Absolutely wonderful. Sweet, romantic, beautiful storytelling with the trademark perfectly written alpha hero and as much as we call KA the queen of the alpha or the queen of the epilogues I have to say, wow! This lady sure know how to write a story about families and children in particular.
“Trust your old man. A woman’s heart is fragile and it’s precious. Don’t be that asshole who kicks it around.” – Jake
She absolutely nailed the family unit in The Will. Their closeness, their troubles, their wants, their desires – it was all there. I will admit Josie and her quirky ways did take a little getting used to but once I did get over her unique way of expressing herself, I fell for her as I did all the others. How beautiful was this story Gitte?
Gitte: KA, her alpha heroes and her sweet and sassy heroines will always hold their very own special place in my heart. I approached The Will with excitement yet also, I have to admit, slight trepidation. I needn’t have worried though and my excitement was truly warranted. Bar the initial issue I had with Josie’s demeanour and highly unusual way of speech, I absolutely loved The Will which in my opinion is KA of old. Also, once I understood that the way Josie conversed and came across was uniquely her and integral to the story it became endearing and I fell in love with her like everyone else in the story. And Jake, well anyone who has read KA’s work knows this Lady is the Queen of alpha males. Jake is no exception.
‘Generous. Selfless. Tenderhearted. Jake’ – Josie
The mature, sexy, rugged protective boxer. Single, loving father who works hard to provide for his kids. Jake has a past that hasn’t been kind to him yet not for want of trying nor being respectful on his behalf. Then comes the kindness and love with a consequential request from a dear old Lady who changes his life as well as his kids’ forever and wow, what a journey that was. I have to say, KA’s epilogues are renowned and I shed so many tears in the last part of Jake’s and Josie’s story. The sheer beauty of it was breathtaking at times, Jenny, I just love KA’s take on family values, respect and ultimately love and unity. I feel in love with all of KA’s ‘kids’ every time and the dynamics, protectiveness and banter always makes my heart melt.
Jenny: So, Josie Malone and Jake Spear meet one another under some rather unconventional circumstances during the reading of a will left by Josie’s Grandmother Lydia. The will contains some rather obscure requests in regards to Josie’s life and how Jake is to factor in that life.
“I’ve lost a lot of life to that disguise, Jake.” – Josie
It certainly set the scene for what was to come didn’t it Gitte and ummm I wouldn’t have minded being in Josie’s shoes….Jake…wow! He was DIVINE!!!
Gitte: Like I said, Jake was lush. I fell in complete love as more and more of this man was revealed. He’s a family man, a business man, a sportsman and with this comes a heart of gold and a body made for some good old filthy alpha male passionate lovin’. To this man the gift of honesty, love, respect and commitment is the greatest one he could receive and bestow in return. In Josie, this is just what he gets.
‘I’d give him anything. I’d give him everything. If I had the power, I’d give him the world.’ – Josie
Jenny: I have to say Gitte, I felt as if I was there! I was in Magdalene smelling the sea air, wallowing in the beauty of the lavender and I felt as if I’d just spent a day or so with some close friends enjoying the chit chat around the dinner table. It was so beautifully written, so vividly brought to life and so perfectly KA.
‘He’d lost his heart. He knew she had it in a way he hoped like fuck she never wanted to give it back.’ – Jake
This author has a knack of bringing simplicity and beauty to her stories and the relationships between her characters in The Will are superbly executed. Her take on love is so simple, so true, so honest, so real. This quote sums up The Will to perfection for me.
‘This isn’t to say I didn’t sometimes long for a gentle touch, a man’s eyes falling on me appreciatively, building a shared history where we might one day simply gaze at each other, understand and smile.’ – Josie
Profoundly beautiful in its simplicity yet the love, respect and depth of the relationships are felt immensely. The connection between the quirky, eloquent, classy, well-travelled and very guarded Josie and the no nonsense, handsome, fiercely protective and very alpha Jake, boxer, gym owner and “titty bar” (that word always cracks me up) owner and devoted father, who leaves behind, through no fault of his own, a string of failed marriages could be felt on every page. Their love was as passionate as it was sweet. These two were so opposite yet so perfectly perfect weren’t they Gitte?
Gitte: Absolutely, Jenny, KA defines simplicity in the beauty of her relationships. What love truly entails, how when you strip away a person’s mask and insecurities created by personal experiences, be they hardship, a broken heart or grief from the love of a lost one; the truth and purity of heart shines like a bright beacon. The quirkiness, the passion and the humour can be found in abundance and the vivid imagery enhances this stunning love affair which is built on the very essence that KA excels at and is so very loved for. I revelled in this story. I took it to heart as I felt every bit a part of this beautiful journey.
‘….she could lead him anywhere.. Just tip up her lips, turn those eyes to him and hold out her hand…’ – Jake
J&G: In The Will we’re back to the Kristen Ashley of old. A gifted storyteller who weaves a magic and realness to her stories, whose characters charm us and work their way into our hearts. Jake Spear is a character we won’t forget in a hurry and he’s up as one of our favourite KA men. He was such a superbly written character. This man was nothing short of remarkable. His love for his children knows no bounds, his love for Josie owned our hearts and souls.
“A man’s any man at all, the first woman he hurts, he learns not to do that shit again.”
As much as the relationship between Jake and Josie is driving force in The Will, it is the relationship of the family as a whole that had us eagerly turning every page. The interactions between father and children, and Josie and the children never felt forced and always felt natural.
“And what’s your eldest son doing this even? Um….Conner.” Josie
“Probably a threesome.” – Jake
We adored the offbeat locals from Magdalene Maine and each one brought a huge smile to our faces. What is it about KA and her ability to create these whacky loveable characters! The epilogue was breathtaking and had us in a flood of tears. We loved every minute spent with these folks and can’t wait to visit Magdalene in the future. A definite must read for all Kristen Ashley fans!
ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review.
THE MAGDALENE SERIES by KRISTEN ASHLEY