In the small Cornish town of Talting, everyone is known for something.
Up to the age of twenty-four, artist Rose Walker was known for lots of things: her infectious positivity; her unique artistic talent; her second-to-none cookery skills; and, of course, her devotion to childhood sweetheart and husband Lucas.
But, two years ago, all of that changed in one, unthinkable moment. Now, Rose is known for being a young woman who became a widow aged just twenty-four.
Rose knows that life must – should – go on. But the prospect of trying to carve out a future for herself is one she can still barely entertain. Until a newcomer, Robert Green, arrives in Talting for the summer…
Can Rose allow herself the chance to love again?
I knew from the second I started reading this book that I was going to love it, and I was proved to be absolutely right. This is such a beautiful novel about love, grief and second chances.
I loved Rose from the start of this novel, she just felt like a real person to me. I could feel her pain, her sadness and her desire to honour Lucas, but also her will to live life. I think a lot of people will identify quite strongly with her. She has been through a lot in her life and even if you haven’t been through the same things, the way she feels and approaches things is so believable and true to life.
I loved how this book is in large part also about the families that we create for ourselves, how you may have lost your family, or you may not have a good relationship with them but so often other people come into your life who become your family. Rose’s relationship with Lucas’s parents, particularly his mother, seemed so spot-on, and I was willing them to be able to remain family to each other as Rose’s life began to change. Rose’s relationship with Emma’s mother was also lovely, we don’t see much of them together in the book but the closeness is referred to quite a few times.
I really liked how the town of Talting enveloped the characters in this book, and that in a way it became a character in its own right. I could picture the place so vividly that I began to feel like I’d actually been there. The warmth of the people and place was just wonderful.
I cried so many times reading this book. All the sections where Rose talks about losing her mum just broke my heart because I’ve been there too and Victoria Walters just got those feelings exactly right. I’ve always felt that since losing my mum all the difficult times in my life have been more difficult because I didn’t have my mum to turn to and that’s how it was for Rose, it’s sadly how it is for everyone who has had a good relationship with their parent.
I really enjoyed reading Emma and John’s story too. I’d previously read the short story prequel to this novel called The Summer I Met You and fell in love with this couple then so I was really pleased to find that they feature quite a lot through The Second Love of My Life. It was lovely to see how close Emma and Rose were, and how they remained such good friends throughout everything they each go through.
It’s beautiful how Lucas’ presence is felt throughout this whole novel even though he’d actually died before the point where the book began. We really get to understand how Rose and Lucas’ relationship worked and just how happy they had been together. Rose’s grief for him felt so real and so believable, and I so often wanted to give her a hug, but the book is never maudlin. We feel Rose’s pain but we fall in love with her character so much that we want her to move on we want her to find love and true happiness again. Victoria Walters has spanned this novel over a few years and it allows us to see the progression of Rose’s healing process in such a way that you cant help but feel joy when she starts to feel like she can move on.
There is sadness and grief in this novel but there are also so many moments that made me smile and some moments that made me properly laugh out loud. I think I went through the whole range of emotions while reading this novel, it is just completely and utterly wonderful. I think this novel will become my new comfort read, the book that I turn to when I need a pick me up!
I rated this novel 5 out of 5 and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a gorgeous novel that will make you laugh and cry, but it will ultimately leave you feeling warm and fuzzy and very, very happy! I can’t wait to see what Victoria Walters writes next.
The Second Love of My Life is out now and available from all good bookshops.
I received this book from Net Galley via Headline in exchange for an honest review.