Love Life by Nancy Peach

Tess is a doctor working in a hospice as part of her training to be a GP. When Mary is admitted with terminal cancer, her son is angry and obstructive as he can’t accept she is dying and wants her to undergo more treatment even though it will make no difference to the outcome. Tess realises that she has met Edward before, but he gives no indication he remembers her.

A hospice might not be the ideal setting for a romance novel, but this part of the story is handled with great sensitivity. Also Love Life cannot really be described in this way as romance plays such a small part in it.  A lot of difficult topics are introduced, but only explored in a superficial way, and perhaps some could have been omitted without adversely affecting the story. A case in point is Tess’s struggle with bulimia; it is mentioned several times but never really resolved.

The story is mostly told from Tess’s point of view, with occasional contributions from Edward. Tess struggles a lot with self-doubt and battles with the critical voices in her head, who take the form of an acerbic talk-show host and Jane Austen. While this is an interesting trope, I found it interrupted the flow of the narrative, and thought the talk-show host’s voice was unnecessarily vicious.   

The story is well written and the characters are believable (plus there is a cat). I would have liked to hear more from Mary’s point of view as she was an interesting character. I also liked the Jane Austen references throughout the book. Love Life is an assured debut novel and I look forward to reading Nancy Peach’s next book.  

I was offered a copy of Love Life by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins/One More Chapter for providing the digital copy.