Review: The Will (#1, Magdalene) by Kristen Ashley - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I’ll receive a small commission should you purchase using those links. All opinions expressed are my own. I receive no compensation for reviews.

Review: The Will (#1, Magdalene) by Kristen Ashley

My Thoughts

Deeply affecting and emotional with an exquisite vulnerability and realness that made the book all the more powerful.
I loved every moment of this beautiful book!



the willEarly in her life, Josephine Malone learned the hard way that there was only one person she could love and trust: her grandmother, Lydia Malone. Out of necessity, unconsciously and very successfully, Josephine donned a disguise to keep all others at bay. She led a globetrotting lifestyle on the fringes of the fashion and music elite, but she kept herself distant.

While Josephine was trotting the globe, retired boxer Jake Spear was living in the same small town as Lydia. There was nothing disguised about Jake. Including the fact he made a habit of making very bad decisions about who to give his love.

But for Josephine and Jake, there was one person who adored them. One person who knew how to lead them to happiness. And one person who was intent on doing it.

Even if she had to do it as her final wish on this earth.

Available on Audible

My Review

“It’s never too late to reach for happiness, and no matter what life has done to you, it’s never too late to find it.”

Wow. I ended this book with heartfelt tears streaming down my cheek. I was so affected by it. So attune to it. The story exuded a raw vulnerability. An honesty that resonated deeply. I was surprised by all the emotions that surged so unexpectedly, that once they hit, consumed me wholly, gutted me in a way that made me simultaneously heavy with sadness and light with happiness and hope. From the very beginning, I felt as if I were there, in Magdalene – this idyllic place by the sea, at Lavender House. A place that personified love and safety, acceptance and embrace. And as Josie Malone stood in front of her grandmother’s casket, shattered and hollow, the winds of change swirled around her as her life readied to traverse a whole new path, leading her right back to the place she considered home.

“Here was where I put my father behind me. Here was where I put my world behind me.”

Josie had the kind of childhood you hope to survive. The kind you wish you can forget, but regrettably, the kind that has an undeniable impact on the expanse of one’s life. At a time where she had no one, her grandmother Lydia was everything to Josie. And although the brightness of her life would dim and withdraw beneath a self-imposed, protective guise, it was with her Gran that she felt loved, safe, whole and happy. Josie’s time away from Magdalene was spent travelling worldwide, next to her long-time companion and boss, Henry, who lived his life behind a camera, but very much in the spotlight, thrusting them both in the thrilling throes of fashion and music. At 45 years old, however, losing her Gran suddenly left her wondering what was next for her.

At the funeral, her eyes fall upon a startlingly handsome man with his children, his gaze bold and strong and intent, but it isn’t until the next day as the contents of Lydia’s will are read that her life feels suspended. Frozen in shock as she again sees this man who Lydia apparently loved. A man suddenly pushed into her life in a way she would have never anticipated.

“My most precious possession, the thing I treasure above anything else in the world, that being my granddaughter, Josephine Diana Malone, I hereby bequeath…”

James Spear is a retired boxer who works hard to create a solid life for his three children. He’s made some poor choices which have left him to raise his kids on his own. He’s a good man who’s struggled through life, stumbling through the bumps he’s been given, but resolute to do right by his family. I was immediately taken by him. The juxtaposition of the rough, weathered exterior and the softness, love and loyalty he exudes from within is simply striking. Whereas Josie doesn’t know anything about him, he knows everything about her. Lydie, as he fondly called her, shared so much about Josie. Her life, her hurt, her hopes. Meeting this woman changed everything for him too. She was beautiful and classy with a refined vernacular that was witty and unsettling but cute as hell. Despite less than ideal beginnings, it didn’t take long to see the goodness inside, the willingness to help others, and the loneliness that consumed. She was different.

“It hit him in that moment in a way he knew he’d never forgot that he could take that hand and she could lead him anywhere.”

Josie wasn’t looking for love. Love had let her down. Abandoned her. Pushed her. Shoved her. Scarred her in a way that she had to find how to live despite of it. Although her life seemed glamorous, it was a facade she wore to get by. She thought she was happy. That she needed no one, but when James and his kids made their way into her life, they made their way in to her heart as well. She thought she wasn’t what he wanted, but she found that he was everything she never knew she needed.

“I felt something strange, strange and miraculous and beautiful and strong budding inside me. Something I liked in a way I knew I could love. Not even love but adore. Worship. Need.”

The more I learned about these two people, the more I desperately hoped for their happy ever after. The gradual way they fell in love, finding that they needed each other in a way they never realized was a beautiful thing to see. Jake’s honesty and directness began to pierce the walls she built around her heart. Slowly, she became the Josie she used to be. The person who wanted to be happy with someone who loved her completely. And Jake, he was so disarmed at how she fell into the rhythm of their lives in a way that seemed fated and natural. He had finally gotten it right this time and he would do anything to not lose what was clearly blooming and thriving brightly between them.

“He was in love with her. Gone. Deep. He’d lost his heart. He knew she had it in a way he hoped like fuck she never wanted to give it back.”

This is a story brimming with emotion. Real and honest and poignant. Josie and James must face struggles together, both external and internal, to keep the good thing they’ve got going. And before they grab a hold of that happiness too, there are more secrets to be revealed that have the power to change everything. Even now, after I’m done, I still feel so caught up in Josie and James’ story. I’m not ready to let it go. There’s an intangible magic and honesty to this book that makes it so unforgettable. So striking. So perfect. As I mentioned above, the way she tied it all together left me in tears and I cried my way through the last couple chapters. Pure beauty. This has probably been my favorite KA book to date and I can’t recommend this book enough.

“I never wanted anything but you, Jake… And I wanted you before I even knew you. Someone handsome and strong and protective and fierce. You’re everything I ever wanted, darling.”



Reading Order and Links

the will soaring magdalene

Click image to order. Each book can be read as a standalone.

Connect with Kristen

 Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦

Follow VBB: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Subscribe by Email

Subscribe for Updates:

Share This Post

Related Posts


  1. carriemarieboo said:

    I really like your review a lot – but am confused as to if his name is Jake or James… ?


    1. VBB Post author said:

      James Spears and they call him Jake 🙂


      1. carriemarieboo said:

        Whew! Of course, nicknaming “James” with Jake is as confusing as “John” with Jack! Lol
        Thanks for the clarification!! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

On Facebook

SuperWebTricks Loading...

On Twitter

𝑬𝑵𝑫𝑺 𝑨𝑻 𝑴𝑰𝑫𝑵𝑰𝑮𝑯𝑻!!! Have you entered to win 1 of 1,000 ARCs of THE GIRL HE USED TO KNOW by @tgarvisgraves?! Today is the last day to enter! Tag your friends and book club members below,…

Author @kbuttonw shares her favorite Lowcountry books!

I can't wait to start 𝗪𝗛𝗘𝗡 𝗔𝗦𝗛𝗘𝗦 𝗙𝗔𝗟𝗟 by marnimann! Have any of you read this love story early or are you planning to read it??? It’s out tomorrow, but so excited to share a sneak peek…

Read an excerpt from Dragon Claimed by @Donna_Grant! @1001DarkNights

Read an excerpt from When Ashes Fall by @MarniMann!

Exclusive Cover Reveal: #Mine by @Court_Writes! @SimonBooks - a raw & riveting story of a collapsing marriage.

My Most Anticipated Books of Early 2019! See the list!

Finally had the chance to meet the fabulous @blackholly at BookPeople and I’m as obsessed with her as I am with her books. She’s super cool and kind! 🖤 It took everything for me not to talk about all the things...

Finally had the chance to meet the fabulous @hollyblack at @bookpeople and I’m as obsessed with her as I am with her books. She’s super cool and kind! 🖤 It took everything for me not to…

It's the BIGGEST GIVEAWAY I've ever done! 😲 -

See the cover reveal for #After by my girl @imaginator1d!!! I love love love it!!! #Hessa

Look at the new movie tie-in cover of 𝗔 𝗙 𝗧 𝗘 𝗥 by my girl @imaginator1dx!!! I lovvvve it!!! What do you think?! This new cover celebrates the upcoming movie (April) starring @FT_Hero97…

Who else is reading this right now??? It’s so darn good and so freaking hard not being able to ignore the world to just immerse myself in this book!!!! I mean, gahhhh, hello tension with…

Oh my gosh! SOMETIMES I LIE by Alice Feeney is being made into a TV show and I cannot wait! 😱@sarahmgellar will star and executive produce. Loved this book so much—about a woman who wakes…

Do you have any resolutions or goals for your skin this year? 🧖🏻‍♀️ For me, it’s continuing to be consistent with my regimen, not skipping washing my face and using my products even when…

I just posted another MASSIVE ARC giveaway on my FB author page. This time, the amazing @vilmairisblog is taking the reins. Make sure you enter - the odds are excellent! Another 1,000 copies of The Girl He Used to Know are up for grabs.

I'm so freaking excited to partner with @stmartinspress to give you the chance to win 1 of 1,000 ARCs of 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐆𝐈𝐑𝐋 𝐇𝐄 𝐔𝐒𝐄𝐃 𝐓𝐎 𝐊𝐍𝐎𝐖 by @tgarvisgraves! This is a…

1,000 ARC Giveaway: The Girl He Used To Know by @tgarvisgraves! @stmartinspress

𝐍𝐄𝐖 𝐎𝐍 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐁𝐋𝐎𝐆 — Sharing my 𝐭𝐨𝐩 𝟏𝟎 𝐛𝐞𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐲 𝐛𝐮𝐲𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝟐𝟎𝟏𝟖!!! This was super hard to put together because I loved so many products! Let me now if we have some faves in common by commenting below too. Head to...

𝐍𝐄𝐖 𝐎𝐍 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐁𝐋𝐎𝐆 — Sharing my 𝐭𝐨𝐩 𝟏𝟎 𝐛𝐞𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐲 𝐛𝐮𝐲𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝟐𝟎𝟏𝟖!!! This was super hard to put together because I loved so many products! Let me now if we have some faves in common by commenting…

Load More...