The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

the2ndlove

Amazon

What they say:

*AN AMAZON RISING STAR*

Victoria Walters’ debut novel is a powerful tale of love, grief and survival, perfect for fans of Cecelia Ahern, Lucy Dillon and Miranda Dickinson. ‘Brilliant and superior women’s fiction’ Heat

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?

Get lost in Victoria Walters’ immensely touching debut novel, and discover a world that will capture your imagination and heart.

The review: Okay, so as I said yesterday when I read the short story, The Summer I met you (read review here), which precedes this, Victoria Walter’s debut novel, The Second Love of my Life, there is an excerpt at the end,¬† and when I read it I actually said, out loud, ‘No!’ (not sure I told you that bit), and then I bought it. Somehow I found the strength to wait until bedtime when all was silent to park myself outside the kids’ rooms and ingest this book. And what a book it was!

It began with a prologue detailing four years previous as we see Rose, an incredibly talented artist, and the love of her life, Lucus, planning for their future together in their beautiful home town of Talting, which was seaside perfection. Fast forward to ‘Now’ and Rose is alone and we’re slowly figuring out how she’s faring, with vivid, haunting dreams and a fear that she’ll never again have the motivation to produce any more paintings.

The book is told in first person narrative and it’s so easy to adore Rose, with her vitality jumping off the page (screen), even in grief. She’s one of those people that you know would be the hub of any group (she’s so cool!) and that makes it harder. There are many memories of course, but the book isn’t submerged in them, instead it’s about how Rose is dealing with finding her way in a new life, trying to find her art again, attempting to remain loyal to Lucas’ memory, and his parents, while trying to be happy as her friends Emma and John (who I loved) move down the path she thought herself and Lucas would be traversing together. Her descriptions of her feelings as she struggled forward were stunning, as were the artistic descriptions that put you right in her head, deciding what to do and how to do it. I love books that are as much about a talent or hobby as they are about romance, and this book showcased Rose’s artistic journey exceptionally.

The bits that made me cry caught me totally unaware- I had assumed it would be the description of how Lucas died that would do it, or something to do with his parents, but the magic was that Rose’s voice was so mesmirising that she could make something simple set you off. The romance is so pretty and dramatic and perfect and it matches the descriptions of landscape and art that is magnificently done. Oh and to top it off there’s a very realistic timeline to the book, as opposed to those that cause you to gnash your teeth as you read:

‘hints of autumn start to appear around me. The foliage around the cottage starts to change into oranges and reds’

There’s not much more to say, maybe go back and read The Summer I Met You, it’s not necessary, but it sets the book up nicely. There you go, a very cool, edgy, spellbinding, different read. Go get!

Rating: 5/5

 

Short story: The Summer I Met You by Victoria Walters

summerimetu

Amazon UK

Amazon US

What they say: Escape to the West Country and meet the characters of Talting in this gorgeous short story: the prequel to Victoria Walters’ debut, THE SECOND LOVE OF MY LIFE. “Brilliant and superior women’s fiction” Heat

It wasn’t love at first sight. It was a summer of love…

When Emma leaves her Cornish hometown of Talting for a summer in Devon, the last thing she dreams of is falling in love.

But sometimes the people who affect us the most come along when we least expect it.

As the summer comes to the end, will it herald the start of something that could last for ever?

Review: It was a given I was going to go for this book wasn’t it? I mean, just look at that cover! I’d also read some great reviews and so I was excited to get going and I did, beginning that very night (unusual for me, book goes on my Kindle and there’s generally a lag between purchase and reading) and I wasn’t disappointed.

‘It wasn’t love at first sight. It was a Summer of love. But we had no idea what would happen once summer ended.’

Yes, that’s how it started, contained in a chapter simply named¬† ‘Now’ and I was IN! Emma is returning to her home town of Talting after three magical summer months in Devon with John, a Summer ‘fling’ who’s not, he’s so much more to her and she to him. I warmed to them both instantly as I did to the story in general. I loved how beautifully we were shown the Devon countryside and how expertly her past was divulged. I’m not a fan of having large chunks of background thrown at me and so this was a treat.

I loved how they met, in a way that was that little bit different, and then their date, which were described in a chapter described as ‘Then’ as we were introduced nicely to John who was well set out as the good guy. I’m afraid I may be using the word ‘nice’ a bit much here, but that’s what describes it the best, a nice story about two people who are in love and yet it’s that bit sharper than your usual romances that swirl around two young people. The flips between ‘Now’ and ‘Then’ is really well done as we contrast thoughts back then with a nice (I’m so sorry) touch of subtle comedy that hit the spot. The romance and the two leads were so lovely and innocent and it was all so cute, but in a non sickly, non immature way. The setting, descriptions and side characters were effortlessly catching and I have to admit Victoria Walters is now firmly on my ‘authors to keep an aye out for’ list. At only 65 pages, and with a Summery premise and cover and costing less than a pound on Amazon how could you go wrong?

Rating: 4.5/5

Note: By the by, at the very end there’s an extract for The Second Love of My Life, which follows on from this but is a full length novel. The premise broke my heart after reading this story and I bought straight away, and without giving anything away … okay, I’m sorry but the book was even better (ie go get both – it’ll cost less than an unhealthy snack and will satisfy you so much more)! Review to come tomorrow.