**Thanks to Jessica Barratt and Books and the City for providing a copy of this book in exchange for a review!**
Sophie Winter lives in a self-imposed cocoon - she's a single, thirty-one year old translator who works from home in her one bedroom flat. This isn’t really the life she dreamed of, but then Sophie stopped believing in happy endings a very long time ago, when she was fifteen years old and tragedy struck her family. Her grief has left her scared of commitment and completely risk averse, so she plays it safe and keeps everyone at arm’s length. Sophie understands she has a problem, but recognising it and knowing how to fix it are two entirely different things.
One night a serious fire breaks out in the flat below hers. Sophie is trapped in the burning building until a random passer-by, Ben, luckily happens to spot and rescue her. Suddenly her cocoon is shattered - what will be the consequences of this second life-changing event?
Spoilers aside, had I known the subject matter of this book I would have passed on it. But I am so glad that I went into it with an open mind, because I really, really loved it. It's good, cathartic even, to indulge your emotions occasionally, and this novel has emotion in spades.
Scarred by a family tragedy of her youth, Sophie Winter shuts herself away from the world, blocking out emotion and refusing to let people get close to her. Until one night, and one more brush with tragedy, changes everything. Now Ben Stevens is part of her life, and he has no intention of leaving.
This is my first novel by Dani Atkins but it certainly won't be my last. This Love is beautifully written and I was captivated from the very start. I have to admit that I fell in love with Ben almost as soon as we met him. A literal hero and the perfect gentleman, what's not to love?
There's so much I want to say about this book, but daren't for fear of giving anything away. I soon picked up on the hints as to where the plot was heading, and knew that this was no straightforward love story. The message of this book is clear - that life is there to be embraced. You can't shut yourself off from the world, and this is something that, thanks to Ben and his friends, Sophie slowly begins to accept.
It's a story that certainly packs an emotional punch, yet it is surprisingly uplifting in its poignancy. The final chapter is one of the most beautiful that I think I have ever read, and one that will stay with me for a very long time.
Heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure, This Love is a novel about facing your fears and falling in love.