Friday, 25 April 2014

The Woman He Loved Before by Dorothy Koomson

Publication date: 3 February 2011
Published by: Hachette
Contemporary fiction for women

The publisher's synopsis:
Libby has a nice life with a gorgeous husband and a big home by the sea. But over time she is becoming more unsure if Jack has ever loved her ? and if he is over the death of Eve, his first wife. When fate intervenes in their relationship, Libby decides to find out all she can about the man she hastily married and the seemingly perfect Eve. Eventually Libby stumbles across some startling truths about Eve, and is soon unearthing more and more devastating family secrets. Frightened by what she finds and the damage it could cause, Libby starts to worry that she too will end up like the first woman Jack loved...Tense and moving, The Woman He Loved Before explores if the love you want is always the love you need ? or deserve.

My Review:
I listened to the audio version of this novel and quite liked it. The mystery behind it made it an intriguing page-turner. In particular, I found Jack's first wife Eve’s story fascinating and worked well - as did her relationship with Jack and the reasons for him wanting to 'hang on'. The events of the first date between Jack and Libby were unexpected - and some may be shocked - but it becomes clear that it is significant to the story. I did sometimes find myself questioning the plausibility of aspects of the story (it seemed like things were thrown in to aid the plot - like Libby telling Hector what she knew - would she really do that?). Also, I found the romantic dialogues between the lovers (Jack and Libby / Jack and Eve) a bit too corny and perhaps could have been toned down a bit. Then again, parts of this book are tough to read so maybe she wanted to balance things out.  I am not a fan of soppy romance but it certainly did not put me off as overall it was a great read. This was the first Dorothy Koomson book I read (and this is an old review - hence the quality).  I have since read Goodnight, Beautiful, which I preferred.

The Woman He Loved Before is another bitter-sweet romance by Koomson and (despite in my view the tendency for parts of her plots to be contrived) she does them well. I look forward to reading more of her books.  I already have two more on my shelf - The Cupid Effect and The Chocolate Run - so there are more reviews to come.

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