Love Life wasn’t as light hearted as I was expecting. It was was touching, emotive, and heart-warming women’s fiction and romance with some interesting and realistic aspect.
Love Life by Nancy Peach
Publication Date : August 2nd 2021
Publisher : HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter
Genre : women’s fiction /romance
Pages : 400
Disclaimer : I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
This post contains affiliate links.
Dr Alice Carter is no starry-eyed Jane Austen heroine. After all, if your dad left without a backward glance and you found your last boyfriend in bed with another guy, you wouldn’t believe in romance either. And the voices in Alice’s head – you know, the ones that tell you you’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not clever enough – well, these voices are very loud. Very loud indeed. Especially when the proud and disagreeable son of one of her patients starts challenging her every decision.
Edward Russell might have a big job and a posh voice, but Alice is determined not to let him get to her, especially if she can get her inner monologue to stop with the endless self-sabotage. And Edward, it turns out, may be less of a prat than he first appears; he’s certainly handy in a crisis.
In the real world, where gentlemanlike manners and out-of-the-blue declarations of love are a story-book fantasy, it’s up to Alice to decide whose voice to listen to … and how to make her own heard.
Love Life was touching and heart-warming women’s fiction and romance that revolved around Doctor Tess finding love, confidence and selflove once again. The story was about secrets, kindness, family, friendship, betrayal, bulimia, getting over self-doubt, not giving control to nagging inner voice, loving yourself, loss, grief and bereavement.
Writing was engaging, fast paced and emotive. It was written in third person narrative from Tess’s perspective. Setting of Bristol was interesting but most of the story took place in St Martin’s Palliative care facility. Plot was much more serious that I had imagined and also dramatic with two voices in Alice’s head.
It started with Tess struggling with betrayal of her last boyfriend who cheated her by sleeping another guy. That incident had huge impact on her emotional state and confidence pushing her towards darkness of bulimia. Only solace in her life was her job at St Martin’s as trainee doctor to be general practitioner. But when Edward came to St Martin’s with his mother dying from cancer, her work life was also turned stressful. Tess and Edward shared a past, a one-night stand but now Edward is different from how she remembered him. He doesn’t even recognise her and he is totally arrogant, cold and harsh. Tess’s decision about his mother’s treatment made things even more tense and affected her already unstable emotions and self-respect.
It was interesting to see how Tess would stand against the voices in her head, care for her patient and not giving into her feelings towards Edward at the same time, how she would learn to gain control over her life, and would learn to love herself again.
Tess was interesting character. She was kind, smart and lovely but she was also vulnerable, pushover and submissive. As story progressed, we know her more through her relation with her family. We see how the voices in her head started, why she had low self-esteem and it was sad to see her turn toward bulimia. I really felt for her.
I liked how her mother’s secret got back fight in her, reminded her of care free time in college and how it slowly boosted her confidence. I also loved her for her kind and understanding nature. I liked her for seeing things through her mother’s perspective and forgiving her.
The voices in her head I mentioned were of Jane Austen, the good voice and Jerry Springer like TV host voice, the bad and negative one. It gave depth and layer to her character. They were like devil and angel on each shoulder. At first, they were distracting and annoying but as story progressed, I got used to them and I liked Jane Austen’s logical and sensible voice providing voice of reason and support to Tess.
Tess’ development was great and I cheered for her when she conquered her inner voices. But at the same time, I couldn’t really wrap my head around her poor decisions and mess she created near climax.
Edward was not likable at first. Tess’s memory of him five years ago and how he was now was so different. He was cold, harsh, and arrogant. I get it, he was struggling to accept his mother was dying and her cancer wasn’t curable but still forcing his mother and then lashing out on Tess for not continuing chemo was not mature and sensible thing. He failed to listen or understand reason more often in story. Just when I was thinking I get him, his action and reaction surprised me. Only Tess could forgive him for his words and what he did in the climax. His development was good and I liked him for trying to make things right at the end.
I liked secondary characters more in this book. Kath- Tess’s friend, Madeline – Edward’s sister, Jake- Tess’ brother, staff of St. Martin’s… they all were amazing and I liked them for pushing Tess and Edward in right direction.
Best part was the Tess’ time at hospice. I liked the way author showed the pain and suffering of cancer patients and their family, how staff at hospice work, how important job in palliative care are and how it can be emotionally difficult, stages of death, what exactly happens with terminally ill patients when they are near death and how staff handle it. Even though I didn’t like the inner monologues that much, it was realistic thing and it’s really common to have nagging inner voice.
Romance came much later in story. Edward had girlfriend and around in middle of story Tess too had boyfriend which made both hesitant and turn their love story dramatic. Tess’s feelings for Edward was clear from the beginning but Edward was hard to read making their romance uncertain and giving it ‘will they won’t they’ edge.
Twist and turns were interesting. Some were predictable while some were surprising. Climax was unbelievable. Like I said I didn’t like what Tess did. It was most foolish and out of character and I could see where things were going after that. I liked how they both confessed their feelings and finally talked like an adult with each other near the end. End was uplifting and lovely.
Why 3.5 stars-
I didn’t like that host’s Jerry Springer like voice. I get people have negative inner voices but things said through that voice was really extreme. I also didn’t like how much focused Tess was on her boyfriend’s betrayal. I don’t know why she couldn’t see her ex might not know he was gay until he betrayed her. So many things Tess thought or believed was just in her head and it was really annoying at some point. I also didn’t like all of sudden Edward was turned into vulnerable person, not for grief and bereavement but a person who also had negative voice and had self-doubts.
Overall, Love Life was touching, emotive, and enjoyable women’s fiction and romance with some interesting and realistic aspect.
I recommend this if you like,
character with eating disorder
good character development
theme of self-love and fighting inner voice
great supporting characters
Thank you for reading! Let’s chat…
What do you think about this book and review? Have you read this already or any book by the same author? Do you like a little heavy and touching romance? Which was your recent favourite?
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