In this British romantic thriller, Emma loves her husband Leo and their young daughter Ruby. But almost everything she's told them about herself is a lie. And she might just have got away with it—until her husband's research begins to unravel the truth.
The Love of My Life is a classic example of the 'I married a stranger' domestic suspense plot—with a twist. Usually, the partner with a secret triggers suspicion in us canny readers early on ... But, Emma Merry Bigelow, the enigmatic heroine of Rosie Walsh’s The Love of My Life, seems so funny, warm, compassionate and kind that we readers root for her—even though we learn fairly quickly that she’s living under an assumed name and harbors a host of other secrets, something her adoring husband, Leo, doesn’t know about. Walsh just may have written the first domestic suspense novel in which the deceitful spouse is also a genuinely nice person. Maybe ... As appealing as the characters of Emma and Leo are, the essential draw of a domestic suspense story such as this one is its plot. Walsh concocts a doozy. Her narrative is studded with evasively worded passages that lure us readers into dead ends, switchback turns, false sutures between scenes and a startling final climax. All that passes for reality is unstable in The Love of My Life.
The way that Walsh constructs her novel is bound to keep readers guessing, even if they figure out some of the secrets and surprises before Leo does. Walsh is especially adept at linguistic trickery (such as using pronouns instead of names) to manufacture surprises down the line. Short chapters and constantly changing viewpoints will keep readers hooked as much as the suspense does, and they will want to stick around to find out what happens next for Emma and Leo. In addition to being a propulsive suspense novel, The Love of My Life explores important questions about trust, betrayal, mental illness, trauma, and when (if ever) it’s acceptable to hold things back from one’s spouse. Walsh doesn’t tie up every loose end—one character, in particular, remains something of a cipher—but readers nevertheless will come away from the book both satisfied and reassured about the power of forgiveness and the resilience of love.
... heartbreaking ... Walsh cleverly integrates twists that not even jaded readers will be able to predict into an initially slow-burning plot that builds to an emotionally raw yet satisfying conclusion. Walsh is a writer to watch.