Book Title and Author: The Lost Wife by Anna Mansell
Publication date and Publisher: July 28, 2017 by Bookouture
Genre: Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Romance
Pages: 307 pages (eBook)
Buy on Amazon.com
Date Read: July 16, 2017 (ARC-NetGalley)
How do you live without the one you love?
Since Rachel lost her mother she has drifted through life, never settling down. Then she meets Ed, recently widowed and with a new baby, and is compelled to help him and his son.
Ed is struggling to cope, and his friends and family all tiptoe around his grief. Rachel is the only one who sees him as more than just a widower, and the pair soon grows close.
Then Rachel discovers something Ed’s wife was hiding from him – something that changes everything. But she knows that memories of lost loved ones are precious, and should be protected at all costs…
Can Rachel help Ed learn to live in a world where his wife is no longer around to tell her side of the story? And can Ed help Rachel to finally open her heart to a happy future?
The Lost Wife is a compelling and poignant story about love, loss, and family secrets, perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes, Dani Atkins, and Kelly Rimmer.
Occasionally, I love to change up my almost continuous mystery, suspense, and thriller reading habits by reading Women’s Fiction or a nice romance. The Lost Wife by Anna Mansell was exactly the palate cleanser that I needed at just the right moment because I was headed towards a nice reading slump. Anna Mansell has written a wonderful, lovely book that will carry you away with all the emotions the characters experience of loss, grief, self-doubt, bitterness, anger, fear, passion, happiness, joy, friendship, self-discovery, forgiveness, and love. Believe me, the book will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions! This is the second book by Anna Mansell and although I haven’t read her first book, she writes beautifully and eloquently and her characters are so life-like, I felt as if they were old friends or even new friends who I wanted to acquaint myself with and become a close part of their lives.
In the novel, the reader meets Ed and Rachel, two people who are thrown together by fate not just once but twice. Ed is a grief-stricken young father trying to put the pieces of his life, no, his world back together when he meets Rachel. He has recently lost the love of his life, Ellie, who died in a car accident not long after the birth of their infant son. It is only their baby son Oli keeping Ed from a complete and utter breakdown as Ed not only feels devastated over the loss of Ellie but rage towards his brother Simon since he was the one driving the car that killed his wife. Rachel is a young, single woman in her twenties working in childcare and like Ed, she is battling her own grief and loss over the death of her mom who died years ago when she was a young girl. It is a loss she has never forgotten or let go, and it permeates all her decisions causing her to have no direction in her life and be adrift.
Although I loved the backstories of Ed and Rachel, it was rather predictable that Rachel and Ed would end up meeting because Rachel was in childcare. But that didn’t stop me from loving the way the two met or their interactions together. It is Rachel’s understanding and help during this time that really begins to help Ed through his heartbreak even though he has burning questions swirling in his head about what really happened the night of the accident and he’s questioning if Ellie and Simon were lovers. All Ed’s questions lead to self-doubt so he knows nothing anymore except he loved Ellie and she is lost to him. Rachel is the support system he doesn’t have, the person we all need when we have experienced a true loss, a shoulder to lean on. Because of her own experience with loss and her ongoing grief, she understands what Ed is going through and knows ways to help him. Until she loses his trust by making a terrible decision and their friendship is abruptly ended.
What I loved is how Mansell has Ed and Rachel blossom and metamorphize after they were both so broken by not only their losses but by their ruined friendship. Ed realizes he can’t really be there for Oli unless he stops drowning in his grief, so he truly finds himself and discovers who he is apart from Ellie without ever forgetting Ellie as his first love. The questions about Ellie’s death and her relationship with Simon are finally answered, which is a big mystery solved! Yet, Rachel is the one who changes the most after her betrayal of Ed’s friendship. She finally finds herself and is no longer adrift in life but gains direction after going back to college and starting a new career. When she and Ed cross paths 4 years later, she is self-confident and self-assured. It was beautiful to see the two of them overcome their individual griefs, seek and give forgiveness, and watch their newly reawakened friendship bud and blossom into something more.
The book ended on the notes of redemption and forgiveness, as well as a burgeoning new love…a new love that respected the first one, which made me squeal with delight! While the story had its imperfections, it was still beautiful. Stunning in places. I wish it had not ended because I want to know more of what happens with Ed and Rachel….and young Oli too! I was emotionally invested while reading, and I think anyone reading the novel will be too! I loved The Lost Wife, and I cannot wait to read more books by Anna Mansell! Just delightful!
**Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture, and Anna Mansell for the ARC copy of this book in exchange for my fair and unbiased review.**