5 June 2016
Book Review: The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters
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?"
There had been a lot of talk about this novel, on Twitter and various brilliant book blogs that I follow, so I couldn't wait to read it and find out what the fuss was about myself! I love a debut novel, there's something exciting about the unknown and finding an author that you know you're going to want to read more books from, and this was certainly the case once I had finished The Second Love of My Life. It was a beautifully written, emotional story and I honestly could not put it down.
Rose Walker's life isn't exactly happy right now, and she isn't where she thought she would be. She lost her beloved husband Lucas in a tragic accident, leaving her a widow at the tender age of 24, just when she thought she had her whole life mapped out for her. Now, she's working in a bar, determined not to paint again, something she loved to do when Lucas was around. But when a handsome stranger arrives in Talting for the summer and catches her eye, Rose is sure that she can't move on from Lucas, and that any other relationship would insult his memory. But her friends, and Robert, are desperate for her to find some more happiness once again, will she allow her heart to open up to love once more?
I have read quite a few books about people losing someone dear to them very young, in particular a boyfriend or husband, but none of those stories touched me in the way that Victoria Walters' debut book has. There was something of a fairytale romance between Rose and Lucas, and I really enjoyed the snippets of their life together that we were given, you could sense the love between the pair, and the fact their future was snatched so cruelly from them was devastating to everyone around them. Rose, in particular, is stuck and can't move on, not wanting to ruin the memory of their love, and it's easy to understand why.
Rose's friends in the book were wonderful, I wish I had someone like Emma in their life, just to be there when you need a friend. I also liked the realism of the story - how upset Rose was that her friends were moving forward in their lives, in their relationship, and she was being left behind - no one's fault of course, but still galling to the young widow. In fact, the way Rose finally turns to her art once more to help her heal and move on was so beautifully done, Walters' captures the emotions of these moments so brilliantly, and the scenes were very emotional, you can really imagine Rose pouring her heart and soul into her work on the canvas in front of her. In fact, I wish I could own one of Rose's pictures myself, they sound simply beautiful.
As well as moving through her grief for Lucas, Rose also feels guilty at her appearance of new feelings for handsome stranger Robert. I really liked Robert, he seemed like such a nice guy wanting a bit of a summer escape, and he seemed so kind, and gentle with Rose. He was hiding a secret, something I did guess before the big reveal but nonetheless was very moving when it came out in the book. I so wanted Rose to allow herself to love again - I completely understood her reluctance but was hopeful for a happy ending.
This is an incredibly emotional book - not always an easy read, but one that is well worth picking up because it will leave feeling glad that you're read every single page. Yes, of course there are elements of sadness, and I really felt so badly for Rose, she had been through so much at such a young age, and was scared to go on with Lucas. But through her art, and the help of her dear friends, she begins to see that she is worthy of loving again, and Robert was the perfect character for her to do that with. Walters' writing was simply brilliant, allowing the reader to experience all of Rose's emotions along with her, sweeping you away in the story, desperately praying for Rose to find happiness again. I enjoyed absolutely everything about this book, and cannot wait to see what Victoria Walters is going to treat us to next. Simply amazing.