Sometimes we find happiness where we least expect it…
After twenty years of contented marriage, no one is more surprised than Mary Black when her husband announces he’s leaving her… for another man.
For the sake of the children, Mary has no choice but to pick herself up and start again. She hosts family meals that include Leo and his new partner. She copes with the kids wanting to spend less time with her and more time with their ‘fun’ dads. But one thing she can’t quite ignore is Leo’s gorgeous brother, who has just come back to town…
After living a life of sliding doors and missed opportunities, can Mary finally put herself first and take a chance that could change everything?
The Man I Fell In Love With by Kate Field Review
A Beautiful Reflection of True Love
Well, as I write this, it’s Valentine’s Day. It would be wrong not to mark the occasion by reviewing a love story right? Only, for me, I don’t often get the chance (or choose to) read soppy deliberate love stories very often. My bookshelves are filled with Police Procedural Crimes, Thrillers and sometimes the odd contemporary novel with a hint of romance. But it is very rare that I settled down with a mug of coffee and truly indulge in the lovey-dovey romance books I used to devour as a young girl.
This Valentines Day, I decided that just like this Christmas when I settled down deliberately to read a Christmas themed book, I wanted to indulge in one of my guilty pleasures and read a book that would give me ‘all the feels!’
The Man I Fell In Love With, by Kate Field, could not have been a more perfect choice.
The blurb explained that the main character, Mary Black, suffers the most painful of all heartbreaks. Her husband is leaving her… for another man. Perfect. A love story with a bit of grit. I may have wanted to feel the love, but I don’t want to be given it on a silver platter. I want my characters to really work for it. Kate certainly ensures that is the case!
It’s not necessarily your typical love story is it? After 20 years of marriage to the ‘boy next door’ – your husband wakes up just after his 40th birthday to admit that he may have also fallen for ‘the boy next door’.
The beginning of the book jumped right into the centre of Mary’s heartbreak. Her husband Leo is stood holding the hand of a rather gorgeous looking companion. Clarke. 25 years of friendship, love, and devotion flashing before her eyes and the worries of destroying the family home for her two teenagers, Mary does the only thing she feels she can do – she embraces her new look family and welcomes her husbands’ new partner into the fold.
Mary, it seems, put her entire life on hold for Leo. Her world revolves around supporting his career, making him happy and ensuring there is nothing Leo could ever want for (except the love of another man of course) and over the last 25 years, we can see in every conversation just how many compromises and sacrifices Mary has made for him. But when her old friend, sparring buddy, and brother-in-law, Ethan, comes back into town, he is followed by a cloud of secrets that have shrouded the two families for decades.
As Mary navigates her new found single life and tries to figure out how to live in this new blended family, Ethan it seems, is determined to remind Mary of who she was and what she truly deserves, and make just shake her out of that dull grey life and give her a little adventure to stir her soul.
The Man I Fell In Love With, made me fall in love. For the first time in what feels like forever, I sat curled up on the sofa and felt my heart flutter and I watched Mary become reborn.
Heading towards 40, feeling frumpy and invisible, she develops into the most beautiful butterfly by the end of the book. Her confidence and sparkle finally emerging. I found myself wishing she was a real friend, someone I could pop round to for a ‘cuppa’ and a hug. The thought that there might be someone out there in the world that would act in such a graceful and refined way in the face of such public humiliation, makes my heart feel lighter.
But as much as Mary is a sublime main character, and as a reader, we are brought back to her own story time and time again, the backstories of the other characters were equally as enthralling.
Her ‘marvelous’ mother-in-law Audrey is the kind of mother we all wish we could have. Her love and loyalty leaps off the page, Mary’s friendship with Daisy is real and raw and doesn’t feel at all contrived. Her own mother is prickly and distant, but with a new love in her life too, even her sharp edges are thawing.
Unlike most saccharine sweet romance novels, Field has managed to construct a world on the page that feels real. The love story is believable and not sickly, but more than that, the secrets and lies that the family discover along the way make it feel honest. Life isn’t all hugs and roses, love takes sacrifice. Love endures. Love waits.
Katie Field has made me believe in love again, not the teenage meet-cute kind of love, but the real, enduring, self-sacrificing love. The love that really, as adults, we all hope is truly real.
The final few pages of the book may have been harder for me to read, you see, I had a little something stuck in my eye. I wasn’t crying. I swear… I was however totally and utterly living that moment with her. As she cartwheels her way into her new life, I found myself hoping that all is well with Mary Black and that life turned out exactly as she deserves – full of love, hope, and adventure.
Thank you Kate Field for making me believe in ‘true’ love again – for anyone needing to restore their faith in love and humanity – this is an absolute must.
Published by: Avon