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Friday, July 5, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway: The Woman He Loved Before by Dorothy Koomson

This is a surprising and intriguing mystery.
The Woman He Loved Before
by Dorothy Koomson

Book length 464 pages
Publisher     Grand Central Publishing (May 14, 2013)
Language     English
ISBN-10     1455507148
ISBN-13     978-1455507146
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary Fiction
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Book Description
Release date: May 14, 2013
Libby has a nice life with a great job, a gorgeous husband and a big home by the sea. But she's becoming more unsure of Jack's feelings for her - and if he is over the mysterious death of Eve, his first wife.
When fate intervenes in their relationship, Libby decides to find out all she can about the man she hastily married and the seemingly perfect Eve.
Eventually Libby stumbles across some startling truths about Eve. As she begins to unearth more and more devastating secrets, Libby becomes frightened that she too will end up like the first woman Jack loved. . .

The story opens very cleverly with a prologue of a letter accompanying Eve’s diaries asking that they be burned without being read by presumably the woman ‘who is with Jack now’. The first chapter then places us at an accident scene where Libby is being comforted and extracted from a car. She is badly injured and begins to flash back about how she and Jack met (he was rude and she was contemptuous) and how their courtship resulted.

Libby is a beautiful and smart woman was is comfortable in her career as a beautician even though that wasn't her original dream goal. Jack is gorgeous and most women would jump to have his attention but Libby doesn’t need a man who appears to be looking for a conquest. Yet she is attracted to him and finally falls under his persistent charm.

Libby learns a little about Jack’s first wife, Eve, who was exquisitely beautiful but died in suspicions circumstances. Jack feels that Libby has brought life back to him and he persuades her to marry him. Libby is a bit scared as she is not sure she has Jack’s full love or attention as he hasn’t really gotten over loving Eve.

After Libby returns home from the hospital she is despondent with injuries, including her scarred head and face. She suspects that Jack is keeping a secret and he seems to be more withdrawn. Then she discovers Eve’s diary and even though it says ‘please burn’, how can she resist reading them? What she discovers about Eve’s past is shocking and tragic and will put Libby in danger too. Soon Libby realizes not only Jack’s secret but other secrets that have remained hidden in the family. Can Libby and Jack overcome the past to have a future together?

I was a little slow starting this book as I wasn’t sure if it was a drama or a mystery. However, it caught me by surprise and my attention was engaged right away. There is a subtle suspense that builds throughout the book. The presentation is interesting with chapters rotating from Libby’s view to Jack’s and then adding Eve’s diary entries. The characters are well developed and at first it isn’t clear if Jack is just self centered and moody or if there is more to him.

Eve is a major character through her diary entries and one might easily have conflicting feelings about her. I don’t want to give a spoiler but as a word of caution I will say that the material about Eve’s young life and struggles is a bit sordid. Imagine the negative side of Pretty Woman and worse. 

The story is very well written and, for me, the plot was original, particularly with the engaging presentation. I definitely recommend this to readers who enjoy an intriguing suspense mystery.

I received an ARC from Grand Central/Hachette for an honest review.
I am glad to have a final print copy for giveaway!


For 3 Extra Bonus entries Visit the author's website and tell me something you find of interest.

* This contest is open US ONLY.
* This contest will close 10 PM (Central) on July 19, 2013.
The winner will be randomly selected from all entries.
Winners will have 72 hours to respond by email or the winners form linked in the announcement.


  1. great review, Martha. The premise is quite interesting, might give it a try soon :)

  2. Great review! This sounds interesting and I added it my list to get. I found it interesting that Dorothy has recently spent two years living in Sydney Australia and now is back in England, living on the south coast.

  3. Thanks for your review. This story sounds interesting.

  4. She's also a journalist

  5. The Rose Petal Beach Scones look tasty. I had fun looking around the diary.

  6. I love the visually attractive layout and the writer's notes with tips for writing. Thanks!

  7. she wrote her first novel called There’s A Thin Line Between Love And Hate when she was 13. she used to write a chapter every night then pass it around to her fellow convent school pupils every morning

    tiramisu392 (at)

  8. Dorothy really loves the movie, The Matrix.

  9. I loved her site, so pretty and fresh! She lived in Sydney, Australia for 2 years! How fun.

  10. She enjoys music by Whitney Houston and one of her favorites is One Moment in Time.

  11. I found I could not comment on most her posts because there was no comment place. I did learn more about her books.

  12. I loved the authors layout! She grew up in London, which I really want to visit and possibly move too!! Then she moved to Australia and back to London.


Your comments are always appreciated!


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