Title: The Woman He Loved Before
Author: Dorothy Koomson
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Libby never thought she’s fall for someone like Jack. He’s just too good looking, too smooth…but she can’t help but be in love with him. Jack has some secrets in his past, namely his relationship with his ex-wife Eve, which he won’t discuss. Libby’s tried to respect Jack’s wishes, but after Libby is in a horrible car accident, she realizes that Jack may not have gotten over Eve. In an effort to understand what happened to her, Libby begins to read Eve’s diaries, looking for clues as to who her husband is and what really happened to Eve.
It would have been very easy for The Woman He Loved Before to be a cliché novel. In fact, while reading, I kept waiting for it to turn into just that. Jack was just a little too good; when was he going to show his evil side? When was Libby going to discover that Jack murdered Eve and was eventually going to come after her as well? When was this smart, intelligent novel going to devolve into something I’d read a thousand times before? Thankfully, Koomson is too good of a writer to allow that to happen; while this book was many things, one thing it wasn’t was predictable.
Libby’s a great main character. Smart and confident, she’s appealing from the very first page. Readers will absolutely understand what Jack sees in her. It’s nice to see so much personality in a main character, and Koomson develops her with believable flaws and insecurities. Jack, on the other hand, is a little more difficult; not because he’s a bad character, but because the reader doesn’t know a lot about him. It’s clear he keeps everyone, including Libby, at arm’s length, and it’s natural to suspect that his motives might not be pure.
Readers will be prepared to hate Eve in The Woman He Loved Before, but her spunky voice will capture them quickly. In many ways, she’s actually the main character of this book; it’s her story that needs to be told, before it’s too late. I don’t want to give away major plot points of the novel, but suffice it to say that Eve’s past is a difficult one and Koomson brings up many different issues through her retelling of Eve’s experiences.
If you’re looking for a smart novel, perhaps for a book club pick, then The Woman He Loved Before is a great choice. Koomson writes wonderful novels with absolutely appealing characters, and readers will find themselves invested in this story from the very first page. Her books are always refreshing, so if you haven’t given her books a try yet, then pick up The Woman He Loved Before soon.
Other books by Dorothy Koomson: