Friday 15 September 2017

Book review : Ideal Love - Alice Burnett

Since going back to work after the summer, I've barely had time to fit in any reading. A chapter on the bus ride to work or a few pages at bedtime before my eyelids start drooping are about as good as it gets lately. However, that's not necessarily a bad thing, because I've been reading Ideal Love by Alice Burnett, which is a poetic, lyrical, finely honed piece of writing that deserves to be savoured in small sips like a singe malt whisky rather than chugged down in one sitting like a cheap tequila shot. 

The book centres around Venus Rees, who is left bewildered and devastated when her husband suddenly and unexpectedly dies, leaving her not only a young widow but also a single mum. She is even more upset as they argued the night before his death and never had time to make up. Her guilt soon turns to incomprehension, anger and fear for her daughter when the post mortem reveals that he had a genetic but treatable medical condition. Why didn't he seek medical help? Surely he would have done so if he'd loved her enough to want to live? Or maybe his mother kept it from him?

Such thoughts leave Venus unable to move on, as she tries to come to terms with her new mixed feelings for the man she loved and shared her life with. The tentative beginnings of a new romance stir up a maelstrom of emotions and passion, but Venus cannot start loving someone else while she is still seeking emotional closure from the first man who stole her heart. The result is an unusual love triangle where only two of the players are still alive.

It's a slow, meandering read with lots of poignant soul-searching rather than action. I found it dragged slightly in the middle section, but I was soon drawn into the story and really felt for Venus as she worked through her grief and confusion. It's a melancholy but ultimately uplifting story that provides an interesting twist on the classic love story.

star rating : 4/5

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Legend Press (14 Aug. 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1787199894
ISBN-13: 978-1787199897

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.


  1. It sounds like a thought-provoking book which challenges you to ponder about love and a meaning of life.

  2. Sounds great. Def my type of book.

  3. Sounds like a thought provoking story. I know what you mean about not having time to read!

    1. I don't feel like I've just had the summer off, that's for sure !!


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