Title: Loved, Settled and Understood
Author Name: Kirsty Grant
Publication Date & Length: July 24, 2014 — 126 pgs
Following the death of her best friend, Laura, Sophie’s life is thrown into turmoil. Torn between the stability of her long term relationship with her boyfriend, Jeff, and the unexpected raw desire for Laura’s sister, Jane, Sophie finds herself questioning her sexuality. Acting upon her desire, Sophie discovers that following her heart has unforeseen consequences and she finds herself tangled in a web of complicated love and heartache. Loved, Settled and Understood is a passionate love story which takes Sophie on a life altering journey of grief, lust, love and anger. How many hearts will be broken in the quest for true love? Is it easier to walk away from love to avoid heartache? Will the words of her late friend, Laura, echo true and will Sophie ever be loved, settled and understood?
This novel is a fairly quick read. I was able to finish it in a single evening. It’s reasonably fast-paced with a cohesive plotline that moves along without sidetracking and unnecessary elements.
There were some things I liked and some things I think could have been improved upon. I was drawn in by the part of the plot involving the death of Laura, the main character’s best friend. Having lost a good friend to breast cancer a few years ago, I felt a sense of solidarity with Sophie in her grief.
Second, I enjoyed the sex scenes between Sophie and her love interest, Jane. They are steamy and descriptive, but not over-the-top with either flowery language or graphic vocabulary. They were nicely sensual. I also appreciated the realism of mild experimenting between Sophie and her friend Val without them suddenly developing lust or love for each other.
As far as things that could have been improved: I think the book as a whole could have benefited from higher quality editing. At times, the style was excellent, particularly at its most romantic. However, the rest of the story often felt like lower-quality filler in order to advance to the next romantic interlude. The entire first chapter had errors in punctuation and verb tense which were somewhat distracting.
I was disappointed that Sophie assured us multiple times that she was “not gay” as she came to terms with her sexuality. She seemed to have the common mistaken belief that there are no bisexual people or that she could not be one. This might have been all right if it weren’t overused multiple times each chapter before Sophie finally accepted her identity.
Finally, I was uncomfortable with some of the plot elements, particularly those that seemed like or actually were domestic violence. It’s difficult to believe, for example, that a woman who had been attacked by an intimate partner would eventually develop a warm friendship with that person. I was also bothered by the way Jane came across as a bit of a stalker, yet the reader was supposed to hope she and Sophie made things work.
Overall, this was an all right story. It was mildly entertaining, but I don’t feel as though I’ve come away from it changed in any way. On the other hand, I believe this author has potential, and I would enjoy reading her other work as she grows in her writing.
I give it 3 stars.
This is a quick read, but it took me awhile to get into it. The writing is not great. The novel is written in first person, but the main character is lacking in personality until more than halfway through the novel. The plot is what helped move this piece.
I did, however, have some issues with the plot. Jeff, Sophie’s boyfriend, seems to have three or four different personalities. He goes from being a douche who just wants sex and cares only about his pleasure, to a total gentleman who will do anything for his girlfriend in the span of two chapters. Later on, he becomes violent to the point of almost raping Sophie, and then he’s perfectly normal and cute again at the end of the piece. The violence is what shocked me the most. For a relationship that has lasted either 2 or 4 years, unknown as it was a continuity error, Sophie should have known whether he was an abuser or not. If he was, that should have come through before halfway through the novel. I also did not like the fact that Sophie let him back into her life after something like that
The relationship between Jane and Sophie was the driving force for the first half of the novel, and it was great to see a budding relationship that had a lot of issues to overcome and seemed to overcome them. I think this is where the story was best woven and written. The anticipation was built, the struggles Sophie faced were felt, and the scenes were most vivid and well- written in this section.
By the end of the novel, I didn’t want Jane and Sophie to be together because Jane had sufficiently creeped me out. It was hard for me to want them to be together even though I knew that was what the author had intended. I have high hopes for this author and the stories she has in her head, the characters she has created. She just needs a bit more time to let the writing technique get better to match the plots she has.
I rate this novel a 3 because the plotline is developed and the basic of the story is there. This novel could have used help from a few more edits and beta readers to flesh out the writing and make it seem more alive. I look forward to seeing where this author will go in the next few years and seeing if her writing improves.
Barnes & Noble
My name is Kirsty Grant. I was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and raised in a little town called Bonnyrigg with my mother, Eleanor, my step-father Ian and my big sister Marion and two younger brothers Jon and Chris. I have been writing for many years but it was only recently, after the death of my mother that I decided to give up a long career as a retail manager and study English at the University in Stirling, where I now reside.
I am in a happy and loving relationship with my partner, Helen, who supports me in my ambition to be a successful writer. My plan is to continue writing and studying and I look forward to all that life will throw at me along the way.
My mother, Eleanor, was an incredible inspiration to me and a talented poet and I would like to dedicate my work to her in the knowledge that she will be proud of all I achieve.