Date: 4th October 2016
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Thanks to Hachette NZ
Russell Greene has it all: a stunning wife, a a lovable six year old daughter, a successful career as and advertising executive. But underneath his seemingly perfect world, cracks are beginning to appear.... and no one is more surprised than Russ when the lfie he took for granted is turned upside down.
Finding himself single handedly caring for his young daughter, while trying to launch is own business, the only thing Russ knows is that he must shelter his little girl from the consequences of these changes.
A chance encounter with an old flame tempts him to take a chance on love again, and with the loyal support of his parents and his wise older sister Russ will finally come to understand the true nature of unconditional love.
While it is many years since I read a book by Nicholas Sparks, I am very happy to have picked up Two by Two, it kept me reading into the night until I had finished it.
It is narrated by Russell - husband to Vivian and father of London. He is a wonderful father, but somehow his relationship with Vivian has been in a bit of free fall, without his awareness. He is a romantic, a people pleaser - he is always trying to give her what she wants and has started to fail miserably. It seems he is never going to win. There is tension galore.
Vivian is a character I didn’t like - and that’s putting it mildly. We never hear her point of view, but what she says and does and what others observe, rounds her out somewhat. She seems irresponsible to me and really selfish. I got annoyed with Russ for not standing up to her more, in a way he enables her in her ways, always believing in the love he has for her.
This is a book about fatherhood, both Russell’s own Dad and his pleasure in his own daughter, London. He has delighted in everything about her since birth, and when Vivian goes back to work, his more hands on parenting is heartwarming. Its a beautiful relationship to watch.
Russ has a sister Marge, who has a partner Liz and both are very much part of the the family. Russ has an excellent relationship with Marge, they have shared much and Marge is often that friend and voice of wisdom and love.
As well there is Emily, a woman who Russ loved at one time, now divorced with a son that London has become friends with. Russ and Emily slowly renew their friendship as their children’s lives touch.
Russ has some rather tough things thrown at him, however he doesn’t crumble, because he has a strength within that helps him to keep putting one step in front of the other, and also placing other people first. He is able to listen and take on board the support and advice he is given. One step at a time when things just keep getting worse he moves through it.
There is sadness and loss, big loss (this is a Nicholas Sparks novel after all) but it is balanced by the love of family and friends and renewed love. The power of two by two, rather than descending into loneliness.
While I found it sad, it was also very uplifting and I don’t hesitate to recommend it as worthwhile reading. Go get it.