Before You Say Yes by Amy Griffin
Release Date: 10th June 2014
Ellie always knew that the sex with Adam would die down one day. Sometime in their seventies, she thought, with the memory of their steamy years to look back on. Not sometime in their thirties with only one year that could reliably fit in the steamy category.
Now Ellie can’t help but feel that she is the only one who is worried. And she can’t help but wonder if a sexless relationship, even one with a man who is everything she could have hoped for in every other way, is really enough.
Her best friend is getting divorced, her sister is planning a wedding and Ellie is coming to terms with her biggest decision yet. Because when it comes to the big decisions in life, you want to be really sure before you say yes.
Ellie Foster is still coming to terms with making a huge decision, after calling off her wedding to her fiancé, Adam. However, it seems that life is going to make it impossible for her to forget her decision as her sister, Chrissie, announces that she is getting married…oh and her best friend is the process of getting divorced. Ellie’s Wedding-That-Never-was is the elephant in the room. So why did she call the whole thing off when she was so seemingly happy with the gorgeous Adam, the love of her life and her best friend…?
Rewind two years and you get an idea of where things started to go wrong as sex with Adam quickly becomes a thing of the past. Surely that can’t be right, after all, men always want sex, don’t they? Ellie grows increasingly concerned as the gap between the couple grows in the bedroom and she can’t understand why Adam is so reluctant to even touch her. Realising they’re more like best friends than an engaged couple, Ellie seeks professional help but she still can’t get a straight answer out of Adam over why he’s happy with a sexless relationship. Still, he claims to love Ellie and everything else seems perfect, maybe sex is overrated…?
I was really intrigued by the sound of Before You Say Yes, and the argument that it’s always a given that men want sex and it’s the woman who are the ones which sometimes lose their sexual desires is a very valid point and one in which I had not given much thought to before. However, it did make for a fascinating, funny, sad and sometimes frustrating storyline.
I really enjoyed how the story jumped from present to past and gives you an idea about what exactly went wrong between Ellie and Adam, and indeed her best friend Jen (who is getting divorced) and her doomed relationship with Nick. There’s a perfect blend of humour and sadness to this story which I wasn’t necessarily expecting. You will really feel for these two women and all that they go through as they try their best to make their relationships work.
I thoroughly enjoyed Ellie’s narrative, reading her take on things is just like having a good old gossip with your best friend. She’s hugely funny, entertaining, warm, and often does stupid things just like the rest of us.
The Foster family are brilliant, with each character having their own quirks that you can’t help but love (like Ellie’s Mum’s obsession with her M&S blazer with the anchor buttons…) and I think that this makes the cast all the more realistic and not a million miles away from your own family. I loved Ellie’s friend and co-worker, Jaime, he was extremely funny and gives the best advice and then there’s Ellie’s colleague, Lauren, who comes up trumps in a shoe crisis (my kinda’ girl!)
However, as much as I loved Ellie, I couldn’t understand why she quit her job. I get that she wanted to make a fresh start after leaving Adam, but she clearly enjoyed her job and got on with her work colleagues. She only ended up staying on temporarily anyway, but I didn’t get why she would do that when she had nothing else lined up and had such a lovely boss as Mr Wick. Still, I guess break-ups can make us do crazy things… I also would have liked to have found out more about what happened to Adam. You never really know what was going on with him, especially Ellie discovers some emails which I am still wondering about, but I won’t say too much as I don’t want to give anything away.
All in all a really impressive debut and Amy Griffin is a new author that I am thrilled to have discovered. She has a witty, chatty style of writing that will have you hooting with laughter and also nodding your head in recognition. A thoroughly enjoyable story that tells us not to settle for second best and to always listen to our hearts…
I’m really looking forward to Amy’s second novel, One Particular Thursday, which sounds brilliant (and also features Ellie’s colleague, Lauren!) Keep your eyes peeled for that one, out next June…
A huge thank you to Amy Griffin and to Leah from Girls Love To Read for allowing me to be part of the Before You Say Yes Blog Tour. ♥
Amy was born in Cardiff, Wales. Eighteen short years later Amy left home for Glasgow to study Medieval English. Then she came to her senses and switched to Psycho-Linguistics, read Possession by A.S.Byatt and held lofty dreams of becoming a Professor. Then she graduated, got a temp job and accidentally spent the next 10 years wearing a suit in the corporate world instead. . .
Amy only ever planned to spend a year in Melbourne but on arrival she fell instantly in love with the city and hasn’t left yet. The only downsides she can think of are 1). some of her favourite people are half a world away, and 2). the lack of Monster Munch. Not long after moving to Melbourne Amy adopted a dog and fell instantly in love again. Some time later she met a tall, funny Englishman. She tried to play it cool, but finally had to admit that she had fallen instantly in love with him too. Luckily he was the patient kind.
Amy writes contemporary fiction about friendships and love. While her novels deal with some dark issues, Amy’s books are written with humour and with hope.