After the Party by Lisa Jewell
I am a big Lisa Jewell fan - I have read many of her books (http://www.lisa-jewell.co.uk/books/ )
My favourite is The Truth About Melody Brown and I loved the comedy of 31 Dream Street. The nice thing about After the Party is that it is the sequel to Ralph's Party written with 'real years' left in-between so that we readers can truly feel that time has passed and Ralph & Jem have taken the journey - falling in love, living together, having children and have now begun to feel the dead weight of 'taking each other for granted'.
Have you ever sat with a girlfriend and one of you is moaning about your other half and it really seems like the girl of the partnership is so 'right' and the guy does everything 'wrong' and you find yourself wondering what is the matter with him? Can't he see what he is doing wrong and how badly he is 'reading' his partner? Well read this book! Jem is having a mid-life crisis - she is ripe for a 'wobble' of an infatuation with another guy; Ralph wishes he was unfettered by responsibility, & has not involved himself very closely with his children, but a trip to stay with a friend in California brings Ralph a connection with his spiritual side and an 'almost' moment with a beautiful girl who becomes his e-mail confidante.
Hearing the story from both sides gives the reader a far greater understanding of how easily things can go wrong when couples are not communicating properly - Jem & Ralph mis-read each other's actions and motivation - no matter that they have been together for 11 years. I could relate to so many points in their relationship dilemma, sometimes from my own experience and often from that of my friends. It is a beautiful story, with some dark moments which may bring a tear to your eye, but so worth the read.
I urge you to give at least one of Lisa's novels a try - her characters are so well observed, real people not overly sugary or perfect. She is also very good at writing the male viewpoint - fairly rare in the 'Chick-lit- genre. I particularly like the way her stories often have a start point back in the 'teenage years' of at least 1 of the characters and then they come 'full circle' in their conclusion.
The quote at the start of the novel, from Mignon McLaughlin carries a piercing truth: "A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person."
Breaking Dawn - part 2
I love, love, love the Twilight saga - for me the books more than the films - but I had to see the last in the series and it was a good representation of the book but with the usual Hollywood requirement of a slight change of ending to get more (male) bums on seats!! I am still very disappointed by the cgi special effects - I don't find the werewolves very convincing, and there was something very odd about Renesmee's mouth when she was a tiny baby (presumably to give a 2 week old baby all her teeth!) but lets not quibble. Bella makes a righteous vampire and she and Edward are a beautiful couple. The film has been very sympathetically adapted and Twi-hards and those who just watch the films without reading the books will be equally satisfied I imagine - my husband (non-reader except on holiday) certainly found both Part 1 and Part 2 compelling viewing!
I now want to go back and re-read all the books - particularly my favourite 3rd book "Eclipse" where we start to see the story from Jacob's standpoint as well as Bella's. Thank you Stephanie Meyer for this beautiful love story and for giving Vampires & shape-shifters the kudos they deserve - I fully believe she and Charlaine Harris [The Sookie Stackhouse novels] charlaine harris are responsible for kickstarting mainstream folk's interest in these other-worldly beings and the alternative reality in which they exist.
I see from the movie magazine which I picked up, that another novel by Ms Meyer is being made into a film: "The Host". I can highly recommend this book also, although trust me when I tell you Stephanie has written a completely different kind of tale. Much more futuristic and sci-fi but still a beautiful love story told from a female viewpoint, with lots of 'internal dialogue' so I hope they are able to convey that on the silver screen, otherwise it will not work.