Planet Books


Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods



Harper Collins has released the second novel of Perth author Tess Woods. It wasn’t until the first few pages that I realised it was a sequel to her first book, Love at First Flight. I really enjoyed Love at First Flight and I recommend reading it, yet Beautiful Messy Love can stand on its own as it takes on different characters, with only a few references to the events in the first book.

Western Australia is seen as being so far away and isolated in the world, so I like how Woods is helping to bring attention to the Perth setting in popular women’s fiction.

The story intertwines the lives of four people: Lily, Anna, Nick and Toby. They are all at very different stages of their lives and face different pressures, not only from their family and friends, but also society – displaying that love is indeed messy at times.

Woods puts her characters through complex issues such as mixed-race relationships, co-dependency, loss, media scrutiny, and racial stereotyping. Their journeys are heart-warming, heartbreaking and sometimes utterly frustrating.

I really enjoyed reading about Egyptian and Muslim culture through the character of Anna; she was easily my favourite. Given the recent events of the world, the more diversity in characters, the better!

I agree with other reviews comparing it to Offspring and Looking for Alibrandi. Footy fans will also enjoy and likely relate to Beautiful Messy Love. It’s a thought-provoking, spirited read with honest outcomes.


Find this novel in store at Planet Books. Ask the friendly staff for guidance too, and they’ll be more than happy to order you in a copy if it’s already sold out.