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 Second Love of My Life, tells the story of Rose coming to terms with the loss of her husband and at the same time acknowledging the need to try and move forward. It’s a moving portrayal of lost love and grief, with glimpses of hope that shine through and have hoping that all well turn out well.
Rose is a great character, and despite her loss still radiates echoes of the positivity that symbolised her life before Lucas’s death. Those echoes are heightened and brought to the fore with the arrival of Robert, who claims to be interested in buying her artwork. As well as Lucas, her art had been another thing that defined her, but she no longer has the will or enthusiasm to paint.
The arrival of Robert proves a catalyst in waking Rose up to the possibilities of painting again and maybe even loving. But there is something mysterious about Robert, that makes you question just what his motives are and whether his intentions will be a force for good or ill.
As well as Rose and Robert, the book is peopled with an assortment of supportive family and amazing friends all living in the sort of community that we’d all love to live in. While everyone seems to know everyone else’s business, that also means they what you’ve suffered, how you feel and how to help you cope even when you don’t know yourself.
Given the subject matter, it required a fine balancing act to prevent the story falling in to mawkish sentimentality and this book manages that very well. We are well aware of Rose’s grief and loss as she remembers her life with Lucas, but her memories are also full of Lucas’s life and vitality as well which keeps it real. What I liked was that the story follows a mostly linear path and doesn’t adhere to the prevalent formula for split time lines to reveal what happened in the past. We are able to spend most of time with Rose and follow her journey moving forward.
If you love powerful stories that play with your emotions and really draw you in, then is a book for you. yes at times it feels heartbreaking but it’s also heartwarming and full of hope.
I received a free copy from the publisher Headline (via Bookbridgr) in return for an honest review.