Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Genre: Romance / Contemporary / Humor
Approximate word count: 60-65,000 words
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“Nathan Jewell lives in the Seattle, Washington area with his wife Natalie, two children William and Renee and his dog Matzah. He is a former New Yorker and proud alumnus of The Bronx High School of Science. He currently spends his work days on completely different topics from the subject of his writings. The Journey to Felicity marks both his first literary effort and the first time he has used the right side of his brain in twenty-five years.”
“In 1987, a hysterical chance encounter on a Grecian topless beach sparks a love bond that flourishes into a profound and a visceral connection that transcends eighteen years and ten thousand miles. Zach Stillman, a Jewish born New Yorker and Felicity Williams, a Christian beauty from northern England, come from radically different backgrounds, etymologies and belief systems. Their relationship is tested and taxed from both sides of the Atlantic as they face sexual theatrics, tragic illness and meddling fathers. Was their coincidental meeting just happenstance, or are the underlying linkages they created strong enough to withstand the life choices and diverse backgrounds that threaten their destiny? Anointed with both wit and hilarity, this romantic comedy is more than a raucous love story; it highlights the emotional fabric of lives woven into the very depths of our souls.”
This is an entertainingly different sort of romance novel that contains “many autobiographical truths… drawing from personal experiences…” according to the author, Nathan Jewell who tells his story through Zach. We first meet Zach and Marshall, two mid-twenty Jewish brothers, who are planning a trip to Greece to retrace their roots. The author does an excellent job introducing us to the brothers, their father, and stepmother at the family dinner table. Seymour, the boys’ father, filled the role I pictured as a Jewish mother perfectly, until he started reminiscing about his honeymoon in Greece with his first wife, which didn’t sit well with the stepmother, Wilma. The characters came through as genuine and likeable, no more dysfunctional than any other realistic family.
After following the brothers around and getting a good feel for the dynamics between Zach and Marshall’s characters, before their Grecian vacation, we are whisked off to Sheffield, England and introduced to Ellen and Felicity. Two sisters in their early twenties who decided they are in need of an extended vacation as well. They decide on the Mediterranean nude beach they have enjoyed in the past. Felicity has spent the last few years caring for their sick mother and the last year helping their father get past his depression after her passing. Their dialect is heavily accented and Mr. Jewell attempts to convey this in their dialogue. I found it difficult to read when there was a lot of speaking between these two or their friends. Here is an early sample of Helen speaking to Felicity: “Y’got to get on w’yer life! You know why Mum named y’Felicity, don’t ya? It’s b’cause y’gave ‘er ‘appiness ‘er ‘ole life.”… “Felicity, w’need t’start up our ‘oliday trips ag’n.”
As the young men travel around Greece we are given interesting history lessons of the different sights and the author does a nice job conveying Jewish history as well. When they finally make it to the Mediterranean beach locale the real fun begins. The boys are thrilled with the nude beaches, Marshall ends up in the wingman position after Felicity introduces herself to Zach. Their attraction is immediate and Marshall has no problem pairing up with her older sister Helen who is taller and bustier. Helen is also the more sexually aggressive sister which really pleases Marshall until their acrobatic sex gets out of hand. All I can say is comedy ensues. As Marshall is convalescing Felicity and Alex are able to spend more time together to develop a more meaningful relationship.
After returning to their respective homes, Zach in New York City and Felicity in Sheffield, logistics become a problem and years pass. Life goes on… Through twists of fate Zach decides to write a book about his Greek vacation and his tryst with Felicity. When the couple reconnects old emotions rekindle and things get complicated concerning their respective spouses and mayhem arises. I felt like parts of this journey were glossed over and the turmoil that forces the characters into revelations about themselves was not explored fully enough for my satisfaction. Even with the Happily Ever After I was left wanting.
This book contains some adult situations however, most were behind closed doors. There was only one F-bomb dropped.
I came across a significant issue in the formatting that didn’t translate well to the Kindle PaperWhite I read on. It is a symbol that otherwise translates to some of the Kindle apps. However, I could not get it to display on my Galaxy III phone or my first generation Kindle Fire. I found it a bit annoying until I found out what it was. This did not make the book unreadable.
I also noted a number of proofing errors, which bordered on being too many. These consisted of wrong, missing, or extra words, and extra or missing quotation marks.