Wednesday, 4 April 2012 / No comments

The Darker Side of Love - Jessica Ruston

The Darker Side of LoveThe Darker Side of Love by Jessica Ruston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Set in London over a two year period, The Darker Side of Love follows four friends, Caroline, Izzy, Harriet and Stella. Caroline is about to marry Bart, the man of her dreams, and she's desperate to start a family with him. Izzy and James have been married for years and seem the image of domestic bliss, but Izzy is bored of the housewife routine and it's not the best time to be an investment banker, especially with a secret such as James has. Harriet is desperate to marry long-time boyfriend Will but he seems oblivious to the fact, or perhaps he is deliberately avoiding it. Stella and would-be-rockstar husband Johnny don't have the most conventional of relationships, but Stella knows he always comes home to her and their son Viking.

Throughout the narrative we get glimpses of a hostage situation, but it's not until the climax that we find out who is the gunman and who is the hostage. There are hints, and this keeps you coming back to discover what is going on and how they got to that point.

For me the main theme was finding oneself - who you are, what you want, and what you're willing to put up with to get there.

I found the book a little slow going at first - it didn't grab me as quickly as Jessica's previous books had, but that could be because there was a full week between starting the book and being able to pick it up again - I lost the thread a little bit.

The characters are believable and sympathetic. I ached for Harriet and Stella in particular. More than one scene had me crying. This is not a blub fest though, there are light and funny moments, it covers the full gamut really. If you've read Ruston's previous novels then this is a slight departure. They predominantly featured rich and beautiful high flyers living glamorous lifestyles. The characters in The Darker Side of Love are not quite so glamorous and are more likely to be spotted in your local pub or wine bar, but like the characters in Luxury and To Touch the Stars, they all have secrets and their seemingly perfect lives are not as they seem.

I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it. Can't wait for the next one!

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