Review: The Second Love of My Life

The Second Love of My Life Book Cover

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters, published April  2016 by Headline Review.

Read: May 2016
Genre: Adult/Contemporary/Romance/Issues
Source: Publisher
#Pages: 320
Get It Now: Wordery

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Goodreads Synopsis: In the Cornish town of Talting, everyone is famous for something. Until recently Rose was known for many things: her infectious positivity; her unique artistic talent; and her devotion to childhood sweetheart Lucas.

But two years ago that changed in one unthinkable moment. Now, Rose is known for being the young woman who became a widow aged just twenty-four.

Though Rose knows that life must go on, the thought of carving out a new future for herself is one she can barely entertain. Until a newcomer, Robert, arrives in Talting for the summer… Can Rose allow herself the chance to love again?


The Review

There were a few things that caught my eye with this book. For one, there was that delicious cover. Then there was the blurb, which told me this had the potential to be a heart-breaking and emotional read, about a widow who is close to my own age. And probably the biggest pull of all – the question, do you believe in “the one”?

I’m a single, healthily-cynical 20-something, who should know better, but who has been so conditioned by Disney movies, romantic comedies, and teen TV shows, that I have this little voice in darkest corner of my mind, that still wonders about “the one”. We torture ourselves over this idea of the “perfect” partner. The person you will feel an almost instant “connection” to, the person who will truly “know” you, and “complete” you like no other. I say all of these things in quotation marks, because the cynical side of me is still gripping on to the truth: there can be more than one.

This is Walters’ debut novel, and it’s a corker (excellent, for anyone not familiar with the lingo). The Second Love of My Life beautifully captures loss, grief, heartache, longing, friendship-love, romantic-love, forgiveness, and hope, in all of their forms, all in one great book. Walters deals with loss and grief in a serious manner – they are given the attention they rightfully deserve, but never in such a way that it’s so overwhelming or off-putting to the reader. I teared up a couple of times while reading this book (which is HUGE, because I’m not usually a crier!), but I also laughed, and swooned, and got caught up in the mysterious elements of the story-line. I won’t lie, I guessed a key plot-point from early on, but I read the book eager to get to the big moments, and there were times when Walters still managed to surprise me.

The little town of Talting in this novel is practically its own character. I was revising for an exam with Gilmore Girls in the background, around the same time I read this book, and I found Talting to be very reminiscent of Stars Hollow. The local small business owners who nit-pick but secretly care for each other, the small town gossip, and the community who look out for each other. I wanted to pack my bags, move to Talting, and find a little cottage like Rose’s where I could leisurely write a book in the same way she paints. Alas, unlike characters in books I have a job to go to and bills to pay. Le sigh.

Walters has one of those writing styles that makes everything come alive. I could visualise the characters, the setting, and Rose’s paintings very well. So well in fact, that I could see the movie adaptation in my head (Universal, are you listening???). After reading this novel, I found out that there is a prequel NA novella called The Summer I Met You, which features Rose’s best friend, Emma. I’m not sure if the author intends to write more about these characters, or more novels set in Talting, but I would definitely pick them up if she did! In fact, unlike most contemporary romance novels, The Second Love of My Life merits a reread.

It’s also worth noting that this novel makes for an excellent YA crossover. While this review has been singing its praises, there were elements of the story that were, in my mind, unrealistic. As a cynical-yet-romantic-single, this can sometimes be a blessing and a curse. It can be frustrating to read about impossibly perfect male leads, but equally we’re reading contemporary romance for a reason, right? It’s fiction – these men just don’t exist in real life, which is exactly why we read about them. It’s a universal catch-22.

Overall, I found this read was “just enough”. There was just enough romantic swoons, there was just enough emotion, and there was just enough sexy times. With contemporary romance/issues reads, it’s so easy for authors to go overboard with heightened emotions or plot tangents, creating a lot of angst that can leave a slightly bitter taste in the reader’s mouth. Walters’ debut does nothing of the sort – it’s a touching, heart-felt novel, that will stay with you after you turn the last page.

Quotables

“But the problem with the moments is when you know you won’t have any more of them, they become infinitely more significant.”

“I lost myself, and without him, I have no idea how to get me back.”

“Sometimes you have to let go of the things that are stopping you from moving on.”

The Rating

4/5

Have you read The Second Love of My Life? Let me know in the comments! And stay tuned for my interview with the author, Victoria Walters! 

In the Cornish town of Talting, everyone is famous for something. Until recently Rose was known for many things: her infectious positivity; her unique artistic talent; and her devotion to childhood sweetheart Lucas.

But two years ago that changed in one unthinkable moment. Now, Rose is known for being the young woman who became a widow aged just twenty-four.

Though Rose knows that life must go on, the thought of carving out a new future for herself is one she can barely entertain. Until a newcomer, Robert, arrives in Talting for the summer… Can Rose allow herself the chance to love again?

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About Rachel

Avid reader & book blogger. Lover of Business. A fan of drinks & dancing. Ever optimistic. Feminist.

9 Responses

  1. Aw. This sounds like a heartbreaker. But I do like these kind of stories, though. The kind that makes me cry. I find it helps sometimes. It’s a cleansing of sort. 🙂

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  2. This is a book I keep seeing at my local supermarket and I keep looking at and then putting back. now I feel like it could be a good summer read and I want to run back and buy it before all the copies are gone (I just know next time I’m there this book won’t be).

    I know what you mean, the realist in me knows how ridiculous romances are and that I have been raised and conditioned by rom-coms and Disney to think I will find the one and fall madly in love and everything will be perfect. Logically, I know this isn’t going to happen, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to read about it. I am pretty certain this will be a book I will love. Now to decide if I should invest or wait for a copy to be available at the library?

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