Review: 'Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes' by Jules Moulin (2015)
Life isn’t easy for single mother Ally Hughes. Teaching at Brown, her class load is huge and her boss is a menace. At home, she contends with a critical mother, a falling-down house, and a daughter who never misses a beat. Between taking care of the people she loves, teaching full time, and making ends meet, Ally doesn't have time for a man. She doesn’t date. She’s not into flings. But then she meets Jake, an eager student, young in years but old in soul, who challenges his favorite professor to open up her life, and her heart, to love. It doesn't work. In fact, his urging backfires.
Ten years later, Ally's still single. Jake reappears and surprises her in a brand-new role: He's dating Ally's now-grown daughter. In this hilarious, heartrending tale, Ally is finally forced to concede (not only to herself) that an independent, "liberated" woman can still make room in her life for love.
Today I have another review of a debut novel to share with all of you, namely Jules Moulin's 'Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes'. The book was released in August 2015 and I requested a review copy via NetGalley because I instantly liked the title, the book cover, and the description of the story. It's always fun to check out debut novels because I love discovering new authors to follow. I have to admit I did start this novel with certain expectations, because I had read a couple of quite serious and heavy women's fiction titles before it and was really looking for a fun romantic comedy/chick lit novel. 'Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes' seemed to fit that description perfectly, so I sat down with it, hoping it would match those expectations!
Ally Hughes is a single mum to 20-year-old daughter Lizzie and works as a professor. When Ally was only 17, she unexpectedly got pregnant and has since then devoted her life to raising her daughter, while continuing to work hard on her career as well. Now, Lizzie is old enough to take care of herself and Ally has a job she enjoys, but there's no man in her life and there hasn't been for quite some time. Ten years ago, Ally shared a passionate weekend with one of her students, Jake Bean, but, despite their feelings for each other, she sent him away, worrying about what others might think and not wanting it to affect Lizzie. Image the surprise when, 10 years later, Jake, now known as Noah, walks into Ally's dining room as her daughter's date for the evening...
It took me a bit of time to really get into the story, but as soon as I was I really enjoyed it. The author has quite a distinctive writing style which was really fast-paced at times and consists of a lot of short sentences. It fit the story, but I did need a few chapters to get used to it. The dialogue made me laugh out loud several times and I quite liked the main character, Ally. Through the use of flashbacks to what happened between Ally and one of her students, Jake, ten years ago, we learn more about Ally's background and why this was such an important moment in her life. I love the use of flashbacks, even though it was in this case sometimes a bit unclear whether something was taking place in the past or the present.
The chemistry between Ally and Jake was for me one of the strongest points of the novel. The two of them formed a great match and I was really rooting for them throughout the novel. I did think some parts of the storyline were a bit strange, such as Ally's daughter Lizzie wanting a nose job and getting involved in all kinds of things to earn the money she needs, and that part of the book just didn't really work for me. However, overall, it was an entertaining read which I really enjoyed and I'll definitely pick up another one of Jules Moulin's works in the future. 'Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes' is a quirky, contemporary, fast-paced read that made me laugh and forget about the real world for a while, which we all crave every now and again!