Books

ARC Review: Love, Almost by Hayley Doyle

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I received an ARC of this book via Avon Books UK and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Description

Chloe and Jack are soulmates. But life has other plans…

Chloe is deliriously in love for the very first time. But when Jack, her boyfriend of five months, is killed in a tragic accident, she is left reeling. Their relationship was amazing – but it never really had the chance to get started.

Grieving but determined, Chloe decides to live life for the both of them and makes her way through the list of things they’d planned to do together – this time on her own.

My thoughts

The loss of a partner – and the person who has lost them “regaining their life” and finding some sort of meaning without them – isn’t a new subject for books to explore. Except Doyle looks at it from a new angle, exploring this loss not only of a partner but of a relationship- and of a love – that was just getting started.

Love, Almost centres around Chloe, a thirty-something woman who has uprooted her life around Jack, her boyfriend of five months, only for a tragic accident to take his life. I found Chloe relatable, not just because she’s from Liverpool like me (and everyone who can has made fun of my accent) but because she wasn’t sure of what to do with her life. Whilst I haven’t lost a partner like her, I think the loss of a relationship that potentially could’ve been something is something a lot of people can relate to.

I think the way Love, Almost looks at grief and loss is spot on. So many books focus on getting their main character back to “normal” after something bad happens but Doyle’s portrayal isn’t like that at all. Yes, she does try to find herself throughout the novel, but it doesn’t take away the sense of loss she feels. I’m glad Doyle showed both sides, the fact that you can (to a degree) “get on with your life” and the fact that you constantly think about the loss – and the person – as well as what could’ve been.

Doyle’s description of place in Love, Almost is brilliant. I’ve only ever been to London once, but I think she captures the hustle and bustle of it perfectly. It was also nice to see the place I call home represented, making everything feel familiar. Her description even made me feel as though I’d been to Thailand before, from the rich description of food to the description of the weather, the scenery, little quirks. I think we all feel the urge to escape very strongly right now and Doyle definitely provides this escapism..without having to quarantine afterwards!

The one thing I disliked about the book was the fact that we didn’t actually get much of Jack’s character. Understandably, considering the fact he does die in a tragic accident very early into the book but I just wish Doyle had explored him a bit more – instead of Chloe assuming that would be how he felt or assuming what he’d do.

Regardless, I think Love, Almost will resonate in one way or another with a lot of us. It’s a story of love, loss and learning to live again.

Love, Almost will be published on 7 January, 2021.

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