I would like start by saying thank you to Bookouture for sending me a copy of this via NetGalley. It’s a wonderful story and I gave it 4 heartstring-tugging stars.
When Liv was a teenager, she never fit in with her family, nor did she fit in with the Felicone family. After falling in love with Luca Felicone, Liv took the giant step of eloping to London with him, and in turn inadvertently burned any remaining bridges she might have had with her family-in-law.
One miserable January night, Liv’s exciting, love-filled life is torn apart when Luca is killed in a terrible car accident. Dripping with overwhelming sadness, Liv finds herself left with nothing and so moves back home to bury Luca. Remaining in the town where he lies, Liv finds herself a job working for a grumpy, old professor, and befriends a chef in a quiet café, who both might just help her more than she anticipates. Despite knowing she’s not welcome, can Liv face the past and reconnect with Luca’s remaining family? And when Liv and Luca’s twin brother’s painful loss draws them together into a secret affair, can the consequences really be that bad…?
“How could a world have evolved where such sadness was the inevitable result of love?“
Let me just quickly warn you that if you are planning on reading this book, have some tissues handy. Louise Douglas does an amazing job of delving deep into your body, piercing your heart and yanking on each and every one of your heart strings. From the minute the protagonist said “I miss him with every breath and heartbeat” in the prologue, I felt the emotional butterflies rise in my chest.
The narration flicks from present to past and back again throughout, and as you reveal bits of the past, the present seems to start falling together piece by piece like a puzzle. Each and every character in the book is well fleshed-out and extremely believable. Although the story is told through Liv’s eyes, we get to see how not only she, but also the people around her, cope with their grief in their individual ways. As a reader, I found myself both loving and loathing the characters, though felt for each and every one of them as they dealt with the huge hole Luca left in their lives.
“Grief is an illness. Different people respond to it in different ways. And they find different ways of treating the symptoms.”
Despite Liv’s mistakes and wrong doing throughout the book (I mean, affairs alone are a big no-no, let alone an affair with the married brother of your deceased husband!), I could not help but like her. Whilst I truly felt heartbroken during the entire book, I also had faith that Liv would be happy again. I simply adored her relationships and interactions with the professor and the chef, and her warmth towards them emanated from the page and straight into my skin, causing me to become fully invested in both of these secondary, yet vital, characters.
“People need people, especially when their ties have been cut.“
Aside from a few minors errors (which, by the way, didn’t lessen my reading enjoyment in the slightest!), Louise Douglas’s writing was perfect. It flowed beautifully and the story was pieced together seamlessly. The element of secrecy was there throughout as I watched the story unfold, and when everything was revealed bit by bit, I found all of my questions being answered and my curiosity satisfied. This was simply a beautiful story with a perfect ending in my opinion.
Packed with deeply developed characters and plenty of emotional twists and turns, The Love of My Life is a heart wrenching tale which will take you through loss, sadness and hope, and every feeling in between. I can’t wait to discover more of this author’s work in the future, and hope she can evoke emotions from me time and time again.