This month I’m loving all things Tillie Cole! To be honest I love everything she does all year round but this month in honour of her new book release I’m dedicating the majority of my posts to her. Sweet Home is the first book in Tillie’s series entitled the same, and tells a modern day spin on the classic Romeo and Juliet story…
At age twenty, Molly Shakespeare knows a lot.
She knows Descartes and Kant.
She knows academia and Oxford.
She knows that the people who love you leave you.
She knows how to be alone.
But when Molly leaves England’s grey skies behind to start a new life at the University of Alabama, she finds that she has a lot to learn—she didn’t know a summer could be so hot, she didn’t know students could be so intimidating, and she certainly didn’t know just how much the folks of Alabama love their football.
When a chance encounter with notorious star quarterback, Romeo Prince, leaves her unable to think of anything but his chocolate-brown eyes, dirty-blond hair and perfect physique, Molly soon realises that her quiet, solitary life is about to dramatically change forever…
Mature New Adult novel—contains adult content, highly sexual situations and mature topics. Suited for ages 18 and up
Molly Shakespeare has spent most of her life alone, with no family left she stuck her head into books and graduated from her English secondary school a year early. Now studying for her Masters degree, she follows her teacher to the University of Alabama both to be her teaching assistant and for a fresh start. When she arrives she gets roomed with locals Lexi and Cass who instantly become her closest friends. Having spent most of her life studying, Cass and Lexi are determined to make sure Molly actually has a social life in Alabama.
On her first day as a TA Molly finds herself running across the quad (or campus for my fellow Englishmen), and manages to drop her papers everywhere. And who should be the one to help her up? None other than the Crimson Tide’s (‘Bama’s Football Team) star QB (that’s quarterback in football speak by the way) Romeo ‘Rome’ Prince. Being British Molly has no clue about American Football or the players so doesn’t know who Rome is, but he certainly leaves an impression. And as luck would have it Rome also happens to be in her teaching class…. but so does Queen Bitch Shelly, as I’ve now named her, who you just know is going to be Molly’s evil nemesis throughout the book and boy is she ever!
After her first day of classes Molly reluctantly goes to a sorority initiation with her new besties, as Lexi (a goth) has a dream of joining the cheerleading squad and apparently this is her only way in. But surprise surprise, guess whose in charge of the sorority? Yep you guessed it, Shelly. For their initiation they have to kiss a member of their brother sorority whilst blindfolded and guess what food they’ve just eaten – I don’t know about you but I certainly couldn’t do this! Molly ends up going last and Shelly pairs her with the most disgusting brother, who she can practically smell a mile off. But there’s a commotion and the stinky guy is replaced by one who smells of man and mint. After a very (VERY) passionate kiss her blindfold is removed to find Romeo Prince, and it’s from here that Molly and Romeo burgeoning romance unfolds.
Their main trouble comes in the form of Rome’s parents, who can I just say are horrific!! Their attitude and treatment towards Romeo is just awful and your heart breaks for him over and over. I love how Romeo was given his name and I also loved the ties to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet story, particularly their names – obviously Romeo Prince but also Molly Juliet Shakespeare – and how Rome climbs up to Molly’s balcony to see her. They also face the expected trouble from fellow classmates as Rome is a famous QB and Molly is just the nerdy English girl. Now I know that this is a typical young adult romance storyline but in Sweet Home it isn’t the main storyline and rather than being an annoying side I really do think it adds to the story.
It’s both sweet and light-hearted but at the same time it’s filled with so much angst, heartbreak and depth. It tackles issues that many can relate to such as parent trouble, loneliness and abuse. You will laugh, hold your breath, stay up until the early hours and cry a bucket of tears. Rome’s parents’ involvement with Molly at the end just ruined me, you will definitely need a massive box of Kleenex (that’s tissues for those outside England) and maybe some Ben & Jerry’s! Having said that there were many times where I caught myself smiling or laughing along with the characters. Molly and Romeo’s relationship just felt so real, their chemistry was incredible and I loved them as both a couple and as characters.
“I don’t remember Romeo being this pushy with Juliet!”…..He arched his eyebrows meaningfully. “And look at how that worked out for them. My way is better—less death, more orgasms.”
Knowing nothing about American Football myself, I really enjoyed the big football presence in the book and how it was used to tie storylines together – Rome’s teammates, his fame, his dreams and his parents’ for him and of course probably my favourite thing ever ‘The Lucky Kiss’! I won’t ruin it for you but at the first of Rome’s games Molly attends a lucky tradition is started which runs throughout the book creating some of most beautiful dialogue I’ve ever read at the end of the book, I cried, a lot! Another personal thing I loved about Sweet Home was just how English it was! Molly is a brilliant character who I found I could relate to a lot and the amount of English humour was amazing! Often I find when I’m reading a book, whether it’s written by someone English or not, sometimes they fail miserably to portray a true English character but Tillie Cole has done no such thing – so thank you Tillie!
As well as Molly and Romeo, the other characters in the book were equally as good, each adding something different to the story. I really loved Rome’s teammates and Molly’s best-friends and I can’t wait to read about their individual stories, particularly Sweet Fall (Austin and Lexi’s story) which we are celebrating the release of later this month! (Check out the cover reveal here)
Sweet Home is heart-wrenching, heart-felt and heart-breaking – when the characters cry, so will you. You feel their pain and their happiness, their joy and their sorrow, the characters so real you hold your breath along with them. With hidden depths, this is a story worth smiling about and you’ll definitely feel the heat in the steamier scenes! But when it comes down to it, this truly is a modern day story of Romeo and his Molly Juliet.
To read Sweet Home by Tillie Cole for yourself get it from…
And to read more reviews check out Sweet Home on Goodreads
“It only took Romeo one look at Juliet and his fate was sealed. Maybe I’m just like my namesake, and maybe you’re just like yours.”