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The Road to Zoe Paperback – 10 March 2020
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About the Author
Nick Alexander was born in 1964 in the UK. He has travelled widely and has lived and worked in the UK, the USA and France, where he resides today. Nick is the author of fifteen novels, including The Other Son, named by Amazon as one of the best fiction titles of 2015; The Photographer’s Wife, published in 2014―a number-one hit in both the UK and France; and The Half-Life of Hannah, the fourth-bestselling independently published Kindle title of all time. Nick’s novels have been translated into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Norwegian, Turkish and Croatian. Nick lives in the south of France with his partner, three friendly cats and a few trout.
- Publisher : Lake Union Publishing (10 March 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1542014123
- ISBN-13 : 978-1542014120
- Dimensions : 12.9 x 2.54 x 19.81 cm
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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Nothing extraordinary as you begin to get into the story, but continues to deliver insights into the characters as you progress, and delivers some very strong messages on the way.
Nothing at all lightweight about Nick Alexander's characters, clearly the product of a very perceptive knowledge of human frailties and strengths.
PS - I enjoyed it immensely !
It made me reflect on my own relationships.
Well worth reading.
Top reviews from other countries
Maybe I’m being harsh, maybe I’ve just outgrown this particular brand of of saccharine, happy-ever-after, but I want more than Nick is giving us here. I don’t think he really gets to grips with the emotional heft — I didn’t find the story particularly moving — and I physically cringed at the sweeter-than-pie final chapter. The whole book needed more depth, more realism, more of an edge. I like my reading matter to leave an imprint — even if merely fleeting. As it is, I was relieved to finish this and move it to my ‘read’ folder, never to be seen or spoken of again.
Believe it or not, I’m actually a big fan of Nick’s. Some of his books have been excellent. I just wish he’d rediscover the magic of The Other Son — a beautiful, poignant, heartbreaker of a novel and by far his best piece of writing to date. This latest effort simply doesn’t do his talents justice.
Thanks for reading my review. I hope you found it helpful. You can find more candid book reviews on my Amazon profile page.
I took time out now and again so that I could think about the content and understand the characters better.
Zoe’s childhood is catastrophic after the separation and eventual divorce of her parents. She always felt she had to strive to get her fathers attention and when he left the family home her inner turmoil turns into an obsession to get her parents back together.
On her 16th birthday she leaves home causing her long suffering mother untold anguish. Amanda’s relationship with hunky Scott is destroyed by Zoe so when Jude her son leaves for university she finds herself alone and forever wondering what happened to Zoe.
There are so many issues explored within this book and as their complicated lives unravel, the family come back together, a mothers love overcoming all else.
The road to Zoe is a brilliant observation of human emotion and mental anguish, touching on many issues that are relevant to society today.
In 2009, after thirteen years of marriage, Ian Fuller has abruptly left his wife Mandy (33) and their two children, Zoe (12) and Jude (10), for a woman called Linda. Jude appears to have taken his father’s departure in his stride; but Zoe, who has always been difficult about her food, now had a major eating disorder. This becomes even worse when, two years later, Mandy began an intimate relationship with Scott Scott and Jude really hit it off, but Zoe is immediately offensive to him. She manages to wreck the relationship between Mandy and Scott after two years. She is obviously a very sick girl, but for most of the book she is really thoroughly dislikeable. On her sixteenth birthday, she disappears from home altogether, and Mandy has no idea where she is, and is greatly distressed at having lost her husband, then her lover, and then her daughter.
The years pass. Jude has finished university and has a girlfriend, Jessica, a feisty social worker. In 2020, when Jude is 21, Jessica has discovered from a social work database that at one time Zoe had lived in a grotty part of Bristol, and they stop off there on their way to a holiday in Cornwall in the hope of finding her. They learn that she has moved on from that address to a second one. They abandon their holiday to follow the trail which takes them to a second address, and then to a third, then to a fourth, and finally they track her down to an address in the South of France.
This search takes up a substantial part of the book, always readable, but perhaps rather too drawn out, with all sorts of rather inconsequential details. All this is at the initiative of Jessica. Jude is very conflicted: he is very attached to Jessica and they have great sex together, but he does not want a commitment, and he is also nervous about what he would say to Zoe should they find her.
When they catch up with Zoe, it is Jessica’s social work skills that finally get Zoe to reveal what had been the cause of her leaving home seven years earlier. It is the best part of the book. The scenes between Jude and Jessica are very moving and, given Jude’s own complex personality, not all that straightforward. But there is healing of every kind at the end of the book, summed up in a complex Epilogue set in 2039.