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As a divorce barrister, Lucy Stephens has seen her fair share of break-ups and is rather cynical about love since her ex, Jonathan, did the dirty on her. Until one night, at a party, she meets Mark and they hit it off straight away. Trouble is, Lucy is just about to get the case of her life and has to choose between the case and Mark. It also looks as though Jonathan the ex is back... What will Lucy choose: the man of her dreams or the chance to work on the case of a lifetime?
I'm a huge fan of the Little Black Dress imprint and jump at the chance to pick up new titles in the range, so when Tug of Love by Allie Spencer arrived in the mail I couldn't wait to read it. It sounded fantastic and the blurb on the back tell us that Allie won the 2009 RNA's (Romantic Novelists' Association) New Writers Award which is quite the accolade in chick lit/women's fiction since every romance author worth their salt is part of the RNA.
The book starts really well with Lucy imagining a dream-scene in which she's being interviewed for Marie Claire and I was immediately drawn into the book. In only takes a few chapters for Mark to be introduced into the book and I loved how quickly Lucy and Mark's romance began. It was like a whirlwind of a romance and I was surprised to see Mark introduced so quickly. Of course, the early introduction of Mark lent itself to a lot of troubles to arise and arise they did; particularly when Lucy is given the chance to work on the case of a lifetime: a high-profile divorce. There were some very clever plot-twists throughout the book and I truly didn't know how it was going to end.
The characters were all incredibly well-rounded and I loved Lucy. She wasn't dumb or clumsy and was actually incredibly clever. Being a barrister you'd kind of expect that though. The whole book is told in the first person which gives us a great insight into what Lucy's thinking at any given moment particularly when all the craziness begins. I liked Mark right from the off. He and Lucy just got on so well and I really wanted it to work. The plot-twists drove me insane and I hated it when Lucy got the ultimatum: her job or her man. Mark was present throughout and I did really like him. There were plenty of other characters in the book including Hez, Lucy's best friend whom I loved, she seemed like such a nice friend and I was so shocked when I found out what she'd done to Lucy a few years ago. There were also all of the other working with Lucy on the divorce case: Guy, her boss and ultimatum-giver, who seemed OK but turned out to not be so innocent himelf; Hugo, the man vying for the tenancy, who seemed like a slimeball at first but turned out to be not as bad as I first thought. The book really was quite full of characters, not all of them were important to the story and a few of the others I liked were Jo and Dave, Lucy's friends, they're rarely in the book but I liked them nevertheless. One character I have yet to mention is Jonathan, Lucy's ex. I never liked him and I didn't think he had changed at all.
There's a lot of law-type-stuff throughout the book but I found it all easy to follow and quite enjoyable to read about. Spencer must have really done her research on the subject as it really is the focal point to the book. The plot was very unique, using law as a backdrop and I thoroughly enjoyed all of the scenes when the characters were all talking law. There was also a sub-plot running throughout the book in which someone within the law firm where Hez works and the barristers where Lucy works is leaking confidential documents to the press about the high profile divorce case. I thought I had one of the characters pegged for the leaks but I was proved wrong, as is usually the case.
Tug of Love is a very enjoyable read and Allie Spencer is a very talented writer. The book was very absorbing and I found it very difficult to put down. My only fault with the book was the fact the main character was called Lucy. There are so many Lucy's in chick lit books it's unreal and they all seem to be morphing together to form one big massive Lucy! Bar that, though, it's an outstanding read and Spencer is a fab writer. I can't wait for her next book!