The Love of My Life: Book summary and reviews of The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh

The Love of My Life

A Novel

by Rosie Walsh

The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh X
The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh
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  • Published Jan 2023
    384 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

    Paperback Original.
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Book Summary

A Good Morning America Book Club Pick from the New York Times bestselling author of Ghosted—a love story wrapped in a mystery: an up-all-night page-turner with a dark secret at its core.

Emma loves her husband Leo and their young daughter Ruby: she'd do anything for them. But almost everything she's told them about herself is a lie.

And she might just have got away with it, if it weren't for her husband's job. Leo is an obituary writer; Emma a well-known marine biologist. When she suffers a serious illness, Leo copes by doing what he knows best – researching and writing about his wife's life. But as he starts to unravel the truth, he discovers the woman he loves doesn't really exist. Even her name isn't real.

When the very darkest moments of Emma's past finally emerge, she must somehow prove to Leo that she really is the woman he always thought she was ...

But first, she must tell him about the other love of her life.

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. In Emma and Leo we initially see a devoted couple with a deep and seemingly genuine connection. To what extent do you believe it is possible for a happy relationship to be founded on colossal untruths? Is it possible to love someone and not really know who they are?
  2. This novel features betrayal, deceptions, and outright lies. Whose actions—or inactions—do you think were the most harmful, and why?
  3. Emma's postpartum psychosis places her in an extremely vulnerable position, which allows Janice to make a decision that changes the course of several lives. What do you think pushed Janice to make such a choice? Discuss.
  4. Leo decides he wants to be with Emma even once he learns the full truth, despite her deceptions. Would you...

You can see the full discussion here. This discussion will contain spoilers!

Some of the recent comments posted about The Love of My Life:

Do you agree that Leo's investigation is "spying," as he puts it? Do you believe he's justified in his actions? What would your first thoughts have been if you'd been in his shoes?
It was research that turned into spying. Plus, Emma's lies early in the story really left him with no other option if he wanted to figure out the truth. Making him a obit writer was a clever way to make that happen. - marks

Do you feel Emma withheld the information about Leo's adoption for the reasons she gives, or was it just an excuse to avoid a difficult subject?
I think that it is a combination of the two. She already felt so much guilt about her decisions that she found them difficult to discuss. Learning that Leo was adopted and his reaction to being adopted made it even harder to tell him the truth since... - robynn

Do you think Leo has ever believed Emma loves and needs him every bit as much he loves and needs her?
No, I don't think Leo has ever believed Emma truly loved him. I think he's insecure as a result of his past and has trouble accepting that people love him enough to not leave him. I don't believe this changed by the end of the novel. - kimk

Do you think Leo made the right decision on in writing Emma’s stock obituary?
No! I think it was very strange that he had the urge to do so when she was recovering. - CJB

Emma says, "that's the thing with memory: it makes up its own stories. They harden and calcify in just the same way as facts." What do you think she means? Do you agree?
I mentioned this in another comment, but it is applicable here. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Chief Bromden says, "It's the truth even if it didn't happen." Whether it is him, Macbeth being “in blood / ... - marks

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Media Reviews

"As appealing as the characters of Emma and Leo are, the essential draw of a domestic suspense story such as this one is its plot. Walsh concocts a doozy. Her narrative is studded with evasively worded passages that lure us readers into dead ends, switchback turns, false sutures between scenes and a startling final climax. All that passes for reality is unstable in The Love of My Life. By novel's end, readers may even begin to wonder whether the name of that cute family dog, John Keats, is also an alias." - Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post

"[A] heartbreaking thriller…[that] explores the complexity of secrets in marriages…Walsh cleverly integrates twists that not even jaded readers will be able to predict…that builds to an emotionally raw yet satisfying conclusion. Walsh is a writer to watch." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Walsh masterfully shows both [protagonists'] points of view while maintaining an intoxicating air of mystery…a propulsive thriller with heart that will keep readers guessing." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[A] dazzling supernova of a book… Each chapter is filled with heart-breaking twists and revelations, and it is brimming with human warmth and intelligence." - Lisa Jewell, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Night She Disappeared

"[M]y favorite kind of thriller—gripping, heartbreaking and impossible to put down." - Laura Dave, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Last Thing He Told Me

"Readers won't be able to stop turning the pages to see how the past and present inevitably collide in Rosie Walsh's latest. The Love of My Life is a poignant love story, a propulsive mystery and a cautionary tale about the secrets we keep. I couldn't put it down." - Greer Hendricks, New York Times bestselling author of You Are Not Alone

This information about The Love of My Life was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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L. Ferrell

Spellbinding Book
I loved this book. What kept it addictive was the interplay between Emma/Emily's life with Leo and dealing with her past. The author teases you throughout the book as to what that past was and how Leo learns his wife isn't who he thought she was via her obituary. Definitely recommend!


Who are you?
Emma and Leo and very much in love Neither could believe not believe that they could so happy along with their daughter Ruby. Emma has a life threatening medical situation and with Leo being an obituary writer has decided to do an obit regarding Emma to keep himself busy. But he finds out he does not know Emma at all. That is when the story contains a mystery as to who is Emma, it’s not her real name and it goes on and on. What Leo finds out and how he handles it and how can Emma convince him that she loves him and only him. Pretty good story. Was not sure how this story was going to go on and what would happen but it kept me reading until I finished the book sooner than expected. Pick up a copy, you may be surprised how much you will like it too.


Not a great thriller
This book is supposedly a thriller. It was pretty boring as a thriller. An obit writer has to write his wife's obit when she has cancer. While doing research he discovers all that he believed about is wife is untrue even down to her name. The story is lovely and I enjoyed but no way would I call it a "thriller".

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Author Information

Rosie Walsh

Rosie Walsh lived and traveled all over the world, working as a documentary producer and writer. Ghosted, her American debut, was a New York Times bestseller and has sold more than a million copies worldwide. The Love of My Life is her second novel. She lives in Devon, UK, with her partner and two children.

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