Three Against the World

A Waif, a Stray, and a Romance?

Romance - Contemporary
289 Pages
Reviewed on 05/28/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Sarah Stuart is an award-winning author of Romance/Sizzle novels who has ventured into clean romance that her niece, book-cover Maria, will be able to enjoy. Her passions are music, wildlife, and travel. She writes because she enjoys it, and as a commitment to ecology and unwanted pets. 100% of her royalties are donated to animal charities - those helping endangered species worldwide, and others taking care of pets like Ben in Three Against the World. Sarah always has at least one dog adopted from the Blue Cross in her home, and her heart.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

When trouble starts, it multiplies and escalates quickly. It all begins on a Monday in October when Richard’s dog barks, alerting him to the presence of an intruder on his property. The next blow comes when he learns that he’s been laid off. Now jobless, as though he didn't already have enough to worry over, his fiancée publicly returns the ring to him while his ex-wife abandons a young girl, supposedly his, at his door. Now Richard has to sort out a variety of problems: find a source of income, provide the parenting the girl needs, and can he find a woman to stand by him? Three Against the World: A Waif, a Stray, and the Search for Romance by Sarah Stuart is a good read for fans of contemporary romance, a love story that examines family and a man’s quest to find his balance in the midst of challenges.

This is a good read and the author did a great job on character development and conflict. The conflict starts at the beginning of the narrative when Richard’s life is about to fall apart, and from then on, the reader follows a man in search of himself and meaning. The narrative is realistic and the plot well-handled. The author has the gift of creating vivid images and focusing on the emotional aspects of the story. Some of the descriptions are terrific like the one in the second paragraph: "The nerve… a dog barking loud enough to rouse a corpse, and somebody was calmly helping himself as if he was shopping in a supermarket." The entire narrative is gorgeous and atmospheric, the prose elegant and arresting.

Lesley Jones

They say bad luck comes in threes, but this is not the case for Richard in Three Against the World by Sarah Stuart. He is awoken by his beloved dog Ben early one morning, warning of an intruder in his home. This is followed in quick, unforgiving succession with losing his job in the bank and therefore his manipulative, gold-digging fiancée, Bridget. When he feels the situation cannot get any worse, his ex-wife Naomi arrives, announcing he has a fourteen-year-old daughter called Maria. As Richard tries to figure out how to be a proper dad, Maria tries to settle into her first normal loving home. Their situation is further complicated when Maria is the victim of unwanted attention and Bridget is lurking in the background. Richard tries to find romance again, but will he ever find that perfect woman who has a heart and inner beauty to match his?

Three Against the World by Sarah Stuart is a truly heartwarming tale of two lost souls finding each other, and trying to fathom out a sudden father-daughter relationship. The author has a fantastic ability to create rich, three-dimensional characters and dialogue that is both realistic and suited to the character. The story line flows with the perfect amount of conflict woven throughout. Bridget was a good antagonist and the ending was a complete shock to me, an excellent twist to the story. The scenes throughout were excellently written and transported me into the world of Richard and Maria. Every one of my senses has been touched in reading this book. I would definitely read more from this author, especially a sequel to this book.

R Coulson

I love Sarah Stuart's writing. She has a style that is immediate and engaging. Richard is having a bad day. He loses his job, his fiancée dumps him, and his ex-wife leaves a surprise present on his doorstep - a fourteen-year-old daughter he didn't know he had. He wants a partner in life - a wife, and Maria needs a mother, but there is a rocky road ahead and Richard and Maria both feel unlovable. The relationship that develops between Richard, Maria, his waif, and Ben, his Jack Russell stray is both heart-warming and touching. A tale well worth reading.

Books R Best

This book was fun to read, and I really enjoyed it. One man, one girl and one dog all rejected by those whom they loved and cast out to fend for themselves. While fate throws them together, there is still the question of trust, sorting the lies from the truth and accepting the feelings they have for each other as real and lasting. Not only was it fun to read but an easy read as well. The characters came to life and I could picture them quite clearly and fell in love with them. The story held together well and flowed from page to page. Towards the end I found it really hard to put down. A little different to the author’s other books, but I think I like this one the best of all. I will be looking for any of the books this author has yet to publish as I so enjoy her writing.

Amazon Customer

When Richard's exwife, Naomi visits unannounced with teenager, Maria & tells him that she (Maria) is now his responsibility, he is taken aback. -When they had divorced, Naomi had never mentioned that she was pregnant with his child.
Although, Richard doesn't know the first thing about Maria or raising any child he is sensitive enough to know that she must be feeling very vulnerable, unloved and a general nuisance. Without any consideration for his own needs, Richard steps up to his responsibility & strives to provide Maria with a loving homelife and stability.
The most endearing part for me though, was when Richard realises he no longer needs to learn to love and accept Maria & fulfill his duties as a father-figure, he realises that Maria is his world & he actually wants her to be a major part of his life.

Ronald Craig

A wonderful and interesting read, a story full of characters who are relatable and make it easy to put yourself within the story. One of those reads that when you start you can't put the book down. I found a fondness for the Waif a touching story of innocence and an almost misfit of a family. A comforting story for the soul. And a faithful companion a 'Jack Russell' that was there through all the bad luck and bad judgements, a silent friend for life. A story which could go on. Highly recommended must read.


This is not the first Sarah Stuart book I have read and I am sure it will not be the last. Three Against the World is a sweet, quirky romance that touches the heart of any parent and every person's desire to be loved and loved unconditionally. The main characters were, as always in Stuart's books, beautifully drawn and with a few twists and turns, the author brought the story to a very satisfactory conclusion. I loved this book and can highly recommend it to anyone who loves romance and family. It's a real winner.

Grant Leishman

As a long-time fan of Sarah Stuart's quirky and controversial romances, I was excited to read her latest offering; Three Against the World: A Waif, A Stray and the Search for Romance. I was certainly not disappointed. When Richard's ex-wife unexpectedly drops a fourteen-year-old girl on his doorstep one night and claims, she is his daughter, Richard's life changes forever. Richard, Maria and their rescue dog, Ben, suddenly finds themselves as "three against the world". Richard is determined to do whatever he can to make-up for Maria's terrible childhood at the hands of her mother. The best solution, in Richard's mind is to find himself a loving wife who can be a stepmother to Maria and create a happy family for them all. Chaos and misunderstandings ensue as Richard and Maria build a relationship, searching ultimately for trust and unconditional love.

Stuart's work has obviously been deeply affected by her love of music and specifically musical theatre, something that is plainly evident in this story also, with even the chapter titles named after songs and show tunes. Her character development of the two main characters (three, if you count the dog Ben) is, as always superb. As readers, we come to love the three characters, as they seek to place themselves in a world that, at times, seems to reject them. As a Father, I can fully identify with Richard's desire to protect and love his newly acquired daughter with every fibre of his being.

Stuart's romances are never straight-forward and Three Against the World is more proof of that. The quirks and twists she throws into this love story are what lifts it above the run-of-the-mill romance stories. I absolutely loved this story and do not hesitate in saying this is her best work, I've read, so far. I can highly recommend this story to anyone who likes quirky, dark-humoured, typically English romances. If you love human foibles, you will love this story.

Hannah Howe

Three Against the World is Sarah Stuart's best book to date. The author has a smooth and graceful style, which makes her books eminently readable. The key to this book, for me, was the inclusion of Ben, the Jack Russell, who acted as a charming theme character, binding the whole together.

The sense of rejection is well conveyed in this story, along with the doubts, anxieties and mistrust that accompany such rejection. With that burden to carry the characters are very realistic and, as a reader, they enlist your empathy.

With Three Against the World, Sarah Stuart has changed direction slightly. I hope she continues along this path because I think she’s on to a winner.

Lesley Hayes

Never work with children and animals, the saying goes… but Sarah Stuart has flown in the face of this advice and produced a thoroughly enjoyable – dare I say, even spellbinding – story that revolves round the hopeless romantic Richard, his putative daughter Maria, and Ben, the Jack Russell who stole my heart. I love this author’s effortless and deceptively simple style – it immediately flowed and drew me into the narrative, and I was increasingly engaged with the characters and the plot. Some of the female characters were femme fatales of the worst kind, and I often wanted to yell at the ever-trusting and starry-eyed Richard: “Look out behind you!” However, in the past I have fallen foul myself into the giddy trap of placing hope over experience, and it’s a steep learning curve – and Richard is still on the baby slopes throughout most of this book. The themes in the novel are not simply romantic, and although Richard seemed at times to be throwing himself recklessly into yet another black hole of an inevitably mismatched relationship, I couldn’t help but admire his stamina and decency, and his numerous struggles to do the right thing. Maria’s low self-esteem when she is dumped on his doorstep at the age of fourteen is the outcome of cruelly abysmal mothering, and the book takes the reader on a journey over several years to see how love eventually helps to heal her wounds, as well as Richard’s. I unreservedly recommend this novel, and I’m looking forward to reading more of this author’s work.


I am no stranger to Sarah Stuart as an author and I like her previous work. This made me a little hesitant to pick up Three Against the World, I thought, was a predictable title, right? Hah! It's nothing of the sort. It is more like an intricately developed spiders web - the author brings so much to this story that it's hard to predict where or what the characters will do or say next. In this story you will feel for the characters and believe the dialogue.

I don't usually like romance stories but this book was different - not slushy or overwhelmingly 'romantic' but a good story centered around 'romance' . Sarah Stuart has the knack of drawing you in and keeping you till the end. Her characters are likeable, Richard has his trials and tribulations throughout which makes him 'real', my heart went out to Maria from the get go and I loved Ben, the dog!

Three Against the World is so different from the author's previous titles and this shows that she is not only a great storyteller but also has made her mark as an author I will follow.

Michael N. Wilton

As a first-time reader of Sarah Stuart, I am lost in admiration at the number of problems she has managed to pack into a simple romantic story. Simple? Not where Richard is concerned. After losing his job and getting the heave-ho by his bride-to-be, and acquiring a fourteen-year-old daughter called Maria he didn’t know he had, you’d have thought he had enough trouble on his plate. But no, he goes out looking for more. It just illustrates the remarkable ability of the author to come up with such complex dilemmas. As soon as he believes he has solved one problem, up pops another - even more intricate than the one before. You have to read it, if only to work out what can possibly come next. The main characters of Richard looking for the seeming impossible and Maria take on depths of character that leave you wanting more – and if that is not enough there is Ben, a Jack Russell, who is liable to steal your heart the moment he appears on the scene. If this is Part One of a series, I can’t imagine what new twists the author can come up with next – I can only predict it will be worthwhile finding out.

Bill Ward

This is a fun story of romance or in fact, most of the time, a lack of romance for Richard. He is terrible at picking women and despite having a lot going for him, each relationship fails. In truth, by the end, he wasn't showing the best judgement when using a dating site to find a wife and proposing in a ridiculously short time, despite the warning signs. At the heart of the story is a 14 year old girl, who is deposited on Richard's doorstep by his ex wife, with the announcement the girl is his daughter. What follows is a charming story, which proves everyday life has plenty of twists and turns, drama and humour. The book ends with a twist and I already have the next in the series on my kindle so I am looking forward to discovering what life (or the author) has in store for Richard and Maria.