All You Need Is Love

All You Need Is Love

And A Big Handbag

Fiction - Humor/Comedy
182 Pages
Reviewed on 07/18/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I love reading funny books, life is far too serious, so I set about writing comedy in the silliest way.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite

In Julie Hodgson’s All You Need is Love: And a Big Handbag, bookish and awkward Maggie enters college, not expecting to be noticed by anyone, let alone by Jack, the most handsome and adventurous man on campus. Lugging a big handbag everywhere, Maggie is dubbed Mary Poppins by her friend, Tina, but she hangs onto her bag for dear life. Maggie and Jack eventually get married and settle into a happy and normal life with their twin sons, but there is no such thing as a fairy tale. So when Jack starts behaving strangely, Maggie becomes suspicious enough to hire a detective to get to the bottom of their marriage. What follows is a hilarious turn of events that lands her under the bed of a sleazy room in a cheap motel with a big handbag by her side.

In All You Need is Love: And a Big Handbag, Julie Hodgson establishes the story’s mood in a very subtle way - she does not over exaggerate the tension, instead she draws it out slowly and steadily and sets this humorous book apart from all the others. And although handsome guy falls in love with clumsy girl is not a very original plot, the dynamics here between the main protagonists, Maggie and Jack, somehow come across as refreshing and not contrived. Told from the point of view of Maggie, who is bothered by the thought of a philandering husband, and surrounded by characters like her colorful best friend Tina and her sexually active mother, no one could have expected the way in which All You Need is Love comes to its end.

Jack Magnus

All You Need is Love: And a Big Handbag is a contemporary romantic comedy written by Julie Hodgson. Maggie never thought her Jack would be a cheat. Their romance and marriage had been the stuff that dreams are made of, and they now had six-year-old twins. Something was off, however, Maggie could tell. They definitely didn't share that closeness and easy camaraderie anymore. Was it that she was older? She would be thirty-five soon, but so would he. They had met in college, and after a crazy beginning, they'd been mad about each other ever since. Maggie decided to make herself and the house over one Friday night, and she arranged for the boys to be away overnight with their grandmother. She waited and waited, and eventually felt ridiculous sitting alone in her sexy attire. Then one day, she found a card for a sleazy motel that rented rooms by the hour, and there was a woman's name and phone number on the back, written in Jack’s handwriting. Maggie was determined to confront the two of them, even if it meant hiding under the disgusting bed of that motel room.

Julie Hodgson's contemporary romantic comedy, All You Need is Love: And a Big Handbag, is a breezy and funny story about a wife's efforts to get her man back, or at least to find out what the blazes is going on. The big handbag? A security blanket of sorts that had kept Maggie company through college and had eventually been relegated to the closet until now, when the familiar seemed to have gotten very strange very fast. Hodgson's plot is unpredictable and as quirky as her heroine is, and her writing is a joy to read. Maggie and her friend, the perennially ebullient Tina, are fabulous foils for each other, and getting to know the absentee Jack through Maggie's eyes works just fine. I thoroughly enjoyed All You Need is Love: And a Big Handbag; it's a lighthearted romp that's most highly recommended.

Deborah Lloyd

All You Need Is Love (And A Big Handbag) is the perfect summer read – fast-paced, adventurous, humorous, audacious. Jack Spaulding and Maggie Tate were an unlikely college couple; he was a daredevil, handsome and popular. Maggie was on the nerdy side, serious and bookish. But they fell in love, have been married for ten years, and have 6-year-old twin sons. Jack seems less interested in Maggie, and she suspects he is being unfaithful. She even finds evidence on a business card from his pants’ pocket. Maggie’s private investigative work leads to many funny – and dangerous – circumstances in All You Need Is Love (And A Big Handbag) by Julie Hodgson. The characters of Maggie’s love-life-focused mother, and her free-spirited best friend Tina, add to the hilarity of the novel. Maggie’s ventures begin to spin out of control as the story takes many unexpected twists and turns.

Author Julie Hodgson takes the reader on an adventurous ride in All You Need Is Love (And A Big Handbag). The novel begins with Maggie in a most unlikely setting (under the bed in Room 6 of a sleazy motel). Maggie gives background information as to how and why she is there. Through her explanation, the reader gets a clear picture of her personality, her insecurities, and her relationship with Jack. Eventually, the meaning of the big handbag is also explained. Ms. Hodgson writes with clarity; she is able to craft a great story in a short, quick read. The reader is engaged from the first page until the last one, wondering what Maggie will do next. The story is intriguing and fun!