When I reviewed her last book, The Winter That Made Us (you’ll find my review here), I ended by saying “I’m so looking forward to seeing what Kate Field does next…”. Her latest book, The Man I Fell In Love With, is published for kindle by Avon on Thursday – 7th February – and I was so delighted to be approved on netgalley for an advance reading e-copy. Those of you who read paperbacks will have to wait until 4th April, but this is one you might like to pre-order now – because I thought it was just wonderful.
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?
A wonderfully uplifting novel full of wisdom, spirit and charm. This is a love story with a difference, perfect for fans of Jill Mansell and Heidi Swain.
Mary finds out that her husband is leaving her for another man in such an excruciatingly public and humiliating way – and perhaps not every wife treated that way would continue to support everyone involved, to the extent of being best woman at her husband’s wedding. But Mary Black isn’t “every wife”, although many of the long-married might well recognise and identify with her. It was her emotional authenticity that made me so love this book – she might have become “beige”, but she’s also strong, wise and funny, and I ached for her to find herself and the happiness she so deserved. This is indeed a love story with a real difference – and although the romantic thread was strong and believable, the person Mary most needed to love was always herself.
Although Mary is always the one that draws your attention – and I really liked the back story, full of secrets and lies deeply hidden, extremely well-handled – the supporting cast in this book is excellent. Husband Leo seems quite oblivious to the damage caused by his betrayal, totally self-centred, piling on a few more wrongs just for good measure. Her teenage daughter frankly needs a good slap – monstrous behaviour! – but I did rather like the quiet interventions and occasional words of wisdom from son Jonas. The support network of friend Daisy and “marvellous” mother-in-law Audrey lifted the book nicely – well, she certainly needed more support than she could get from her self-sacrificing and rather horrendous mother, living her life amid a few new secrets in the garage. I also loved the parallels in the story of lost Lancashire Victorian novelist Alice Hornby – while the search for her lost novel and diaries added a whole new level of interest to the story, it also introduced the real constraints that blighted Alice’s happy ending, while the only thing holding Mary back is herself.
The writing is thoroughly excellent – an easy read in many ways, but with a real depth of feeling and emotion. Mary’s inability to let herself go may sometimes frustrate, but her actions and reactions are never less than absolutely real and entirely understandable. Fair to mention, I think, that there’s a degree of untangling of threads towards the end of the book that might not be everyone’s cup of tea, although it certainly worked for me – this is fiction after all. But this really was a book that had captured my heart from its opening pages – and its final scenes, in full widescreen technicolour and cinemascope, were some of the very loveliest I’ve read in a long time. Yes, I’ll admit I might have had something in my eye for a moment… Mary Black, I do so hope your future will be a happy one.
About the author
Kate writes contemporary women’s fiction, mainly set in her favourite county of Lancashire, where she lives with her husband, daughter and hyperactive cat. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and her debut novel, The Magic of Ramblings, won the RNA’s Joan Hessayon Award for new writers in 2017.