Book Review: Love Always – Harriet Evans

Title: Love Always
Author: Harriet Evans
ISBN: 9781451639629
Pages: 480
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

Natasha Kapoor’s life is falling apart.  She is separated from her once-beloved husband and her business is failing.  When her grandmother dies, Natasha travels to her grandparents’ home in Penzance for the funeral.  The last thing she expects while there is to receive another life-changing jolt, but she does – the lost diary of Cecily, Natasha’s aunt who died tragically when she was just a teenager.  Through the diary, Natasha begins to uncover some of her family’s darkest secrets, while also learning how to put her life back together.

Review:

In Love Always, women’s fiction author Harriet Evans has successfully managed to combine the storyline of a dark, hidden past with the plight of a modern-day woman struggling to understand her place in the world.  Natasha Kapoor is a broken woman when the novel begins.  She had such high hopes and lofty goals for herself and never thought she would sink this low.  But now that she’s hit the bottom, she has the chance to rethink her life and what she wants out of it.  She can build things back up the way she wants and learn from her mistakes.  Natasha is a capable and smart woman, and while she does wallow in self-despair for parts of the book, it’s wonderful to watch her pull herself out of her misery and start succeeding again.

Cecily is the other main character of Love Always, and it’s interesting to see her, considering she’s been dead for nearly fifty years when the book begins.  Natasha is so like Cecily in some ways, a more mature and seasoned version of the teenager.  Cecily hasn’t had the heartbreak and loss Natasha has had, but she’s dealt with her own issues.  The insight into people’s reactions to Cecily’s half-Indian/Pakistani, half-British heritage is very interesting and gives the novel a welcome cultural depth.

The story of Love Always is equally divided between Natasha’s personal struggles and her search for the truth behind Cecily’s death.  These plots are balanced well; the book is never too introspective or self-pitying.  When Natasha can no longer stand to focus on herself, she throws her energy into Cecily.  The unraveling of the family’s secrets is handled at a slow but satisfying pace.  The reader learns just enough to keep them curious, but not so much that they are overwhelmed with information.  Evans’ timing is well thought out, and makes the book a bit suspenseful, driving the narrative forward.

Love Always is an enjoyable novel that I recommend to fans of character driven novels with a hint of mystery.  While it will appeal to women’s fiction fans, the cultural touches and family secrets make the book appropriate for a wider, contemporary fiction audience.  This was a satisfying summer read, and I look forward to seeing what Harriet Evans does next.

Affiliate Links:

Buy this book from Powell’s Books
Buy this book from Amazon.com
Buy this book from your local Indiebound bookstore

Comments

  1. Humm. This one might work for me because it sounds like there is a bit of depth to it. I like character-driven novels.

  2. Humm. This one might work for me because it sounds like there is a bit of depth to it. I like character-driven novels.

  3. The cultural aspects sound good to me, but I do need plot, so I’ll have to think about this one.

  4. The cultural aspects sound good to me, but I do need plot, so I’ll have to think about this one.

  5. I love a good book that introduces me to a different culture. Your blog always introduces me to new books.

  6. I love a good book that introduces me to a different culture. Your blog always introduces me to new books.

  7. Oh, this book sounds like something I would enjoy. I will have to see if I can read it soon.

  8. Oh, this book sounds like something I would enjoy. I will have to see if I can read it soon.

  9. Oh this sounds very promising! The juxtaposing of the two women, and the movement between the two story lines sounds really interesting, and I also love that Natasha isn’t so self-pitying that it ruins the story. A little bit of self-reflection in these kinds of books is good, but too much can tip the balance. Despite the fact that I had not heard of this one before, now I want to read it! Amazing review!

  10. Oh this sounds very promising! The juxtaposing of the two women, and the movement between the two story lines sounds really interesting, and I also love that Natasha isn’t so self-pitying that it ruins the story. A little bit of self-reflection in these kinds of books is good, but too much can tip the balance. Despite the fact that I had not heard of this one before, now I want to read it! Amazing review!

Leave a Reply

Comment Policy:  I welcome comments and read each one I receive. If your comment needs a response, I will provide it in a timely manner, as I read every comment I receive. Please keep your comments civil and polite! I reserve the right to delete any comments that are rude or inappropriate. Because of spam, I have to moderate comments on old posts. Please be patient - I will approve your comment quickly.

Before the tag in the Genesis footer: !-- Quantcast Tag -->