I have held you every night for 10 years, and I didn’t even know your name. We have a child together. A dog, a house. Who are you?
Emma loves her husband, Leo, and their young daughter, Ruby: she’d do anything for them. But almost everything she’s told them about herself is a lie.
And she might just have got away with it, if it weren’t for her husband’s job. Leo is an obituary writer, and Emma is a well-known marine biologist, so when she suffers a serious illness, Leo copes by doing what he knows best – reading and writing about her life. But as he starts to unravel her past, he discovers the woman he loves doesn’t really exist. Even her name is fictitious.
When the very darkest moments of Emma’s past life finally emerge, she must somehow prove to Leo that she really is the woman he always thought she was….
But first, she must tell him about the love of her other life.
The Love of My Life is a novel with plenty of surprising twists and turns. The beginning is a little slow but really hooked me once Leo discovers his wife told a lie and dives headlong into the unknown by reaching out to people he didn’t know of but she’s been in contact with. Who is Jeremy Rothchild and why is his wife Janice missing? What does Emma have to do with it? You’d think this is a story about cheating but maybe it’s something else, I’m not saying more, my lips are sealed. In any case it’s not Emma herself but Jeremy who informs Leo about Emma’s history, and flashbacks to a time when Emma came into their lives show what Emma went through when she was in her twenties. The heart of the story is tragic and it will probably tug at your heartstrings too in the scenes set in the past.
I enjoyed the story but I was hoping so hard for a re-do of The Man Who Didn’t Call, this great impossible love story between a man and a woman, and being so different it didn’t entirely live up to my expectations. I loved her first novel so much and while there is definitely love in this story too, and an impossible, yearning love even, the love between the couple of main characters, Leo and Emma, isn’t what I call epic. When I think of a romance novel this isn’t what I’m thinking of and for me this falls more under contemporary fiction, a family history, drama.
So, apart from this novel feeling as a different type from her debut novel, my enjoyment was also tempered by the narration. The story is told in his (Leo) and her (Emma) voices and Leo’s voice was pleasant enough to listen to, the male voice was measured and calm but the female narrator stressed every other word in a sentence and I like audiobooks with attention to intonation but this was too much for my liking. I didn’t enjoy the other voices she did either, she gave Leo in her parts in the beginning a very deep and slow voice but that wasn’t how the other narrator presented his character. Also her child’s voice for Ruby wasn’t a young voice that sounded innocently cute or angelic, but rather annoying. I know several blog friends who love listening to audiobooks narrated by Imogen Church so I think it’s just a personal thing for me and if you’re interested in this novel you should not refrain because of this.
I received a free digital copy of this audiobook from Macmillan UK Audio via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.