06 December 2011

The Love of My Life by Louise Douglas

The Love of My Life by Louise Douglas

Published: 1 February 2008 by Macmillan

Pages: 400 pages (hardback)

Genre/s: Romance, Adult Contemporary

Source: Own library

Check it Out: GoodreadsAmazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository


'I miss him with every breath and heartbeat. He should have been my happy ending. Instead, he is the sad beginning to my story.' Olivia and Luca Felicone had known each other nearly all their lives, but when they fell in love as teenagers and eloped to London they broke the hearts of those closest to them. Luca's parents run Marinella's restaurant, the colourful hub of life in the otherwise bleak north-eastern seaside town of Watersford, and his mother, Angela, has never forgiven Olivia for causing such a rift in her beloved family.On a freezing January night Olivia's life is shattered when she learns that Luca has been killed in a car accident. She is left with nothing and, after suffering from weeks of overwhelming grief, she abandons her job and returns north to where Luca has been buried in Watersford. Olivia's chance meeting with Luca's married twin brother, Marc, leads to the realization that he is experiencing a loss almost as painful as her own. Their desolation draws them into an affair which both know has no future, but fills the space where Luca should be. It is a course of action that can only spiral out of control, and when it does the consequences are both explosive and cruel. "The Love of My Life" is a beautiful novel that portrays both the innocence of childhood, and the dynamics of love and loss with deftness and sensitivity. It is, above all, a stunning debut from an author with a unique and natural narrative voice.

My Thoughts

I have a confession to make. I brought this book just before my 2011 summer holiday, thinking it would be a nice fluffy chick-lit type read for the beach. I didn’t read it on my holiday, and when I was coming to the very end of my 24 read-a-thon last weekend, I started reading it because I thought it would be an ‘easy’ read.

Now I’m a little stuck how to describe it, because it is an easy read in terms of how it is written, but the content is much more complex than it appears.

The Love of My Life sucks you in right from the beginning, and doesn’t let you go. The characters are vibrant and real, and I particularly loved Olivia – her grief is compelling and her situation is heartbreaking – I couldn’t help but sympathise with her. The Felicone’s are as I imagine an Italian family in a small town would be, protective and completely family-orientated.

This is a book about a lot of things – grief, comfort, family, friendships, and most of all, love. The flashbacks to Olivia and Luca’s childhood help to make the story complete, and link their life together with Olivia’s grief in a believable way, and the gradual revealing of the reasons why Olivia does not fit in with the family kept me reading just to find out what happened.

The Love of My Life completely surpassed my expectations – I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves….well I don’t know how to describe it, it’s not my idea of ‘chick-lit’! ……anyone who loves a good, emotional and heartfelt story.

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