TORN pulled me into the story of Jess from the very first paragraph. The book is a wonderful piece of prose from a gifted author with a unique voice. It is a romance with a twist, a slice from the life of Jessica Avery. On the one hand, TORN is about a thirty-something single mom who escapes a violently abusive relationship and the hassles of a stressful job in London, yearning for peace and stability in the country.
But on a deeper level, TORN is about the effects of abuse, the lurching starts and stops, the choices of an abused woman who in many ways is broken as she searches for a new life and a proper home for her child, stumbling along the way.
Listen to the rhythm of Ms. Allan’s prose as Jess speaks:
‘Tonight marks a fresh start. A new life. And I’m determined to get it right this time.’ With the words–and all the underlying unspoken implications–she felt the up-swell of elation, the utter conviction that re-making her life would be easy.
Jess’s quest is more than she bargained for, however, and she falls into the arms of one man, only to fall into the arms of another. TORN chronicles Jess’s coming of age, if you will, her growth as a person, and the novel’s scenes—those with her friends and with her child, Rory, who during the course of the narrative, has milestones of his own—include her romantic relationships with men in quite detailed and beautifully written prose. In fact, the sex scenes are masterfully written. A tightly-written novel, all the scenes, including those in the bedroom, have a purpose: they move the story along and illuminate the characters, especially Jess.
Ms. Allan has created a very complex character in Jess, totally believable, one who surprised and, at times, angered this reader, and the novel centers around her growth. And the minor characters, Danny, James, Rory, Sean have their own special voice. For those who want a compelling romance a finely written story told with rich prose, TORN by British author, Gilli Allan, is a must read.
To connect with Gilli: http://twitter.com/gilliallan (@gilliallan)