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99 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book I love!
Koomson's books always seem to have an element of mystery to her books - we know certain things about the characters and certain events, yet there is always something in the background we don't know everything about, and this is usually the crux of the story, and ends up shocking the reader, something I love about her books. Her last novel, The Ice Cream Girls, certainly...
Published on 4 Feb 2011 by Chloe S "Chick Lit Chloe"

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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting mystery
I'm a huge fan of Dorothy Koomson's books (I ordered this from the US, after all!) and I was really looking forward to The Woman He Loved Before. I wish I could give this 3.5 stars, because that's a more accurate expression of my feelings about this book. There was a lot here that I liked, and a lot that seemed not to be addressed. The mystery of what happened to Eve was...
Published on 3 Mar 2011 by Nicole Readsalot


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99 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book I love!, 4 Feb 2011
By 
Chloe S "Chick Lit Chloe" (Berkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Koomson's books always seem to have an element of mystery to her books - we know certain things about the characters and certain events, yet there is always something in the background we don't know everything about, and this is usually the crux of the story, and ends up shocking the reader, something I love about her books. Her last novel, The Ice Cream Girls, certainly didn't disappoint on this front, and now this one manages to trump even that, I was absolutely glued to this book from start to finish.

We begin at the scene of Libby and Jack's road accident. Libby is in a bad way, and she is upset at her husband about something, but we are clueless as to what. The accident is actually a very important part of the whole book, and is constantly flashed-back to throughout the book, with the accident parts occurring in italics to separate them from the present day. Surrounding this story, we have what is going on with Libby and Jack in the present day and this was also exciting to read. Libby is a likeable character - she clearly loves her husband Jack very much but feels she very much lives in the shadow of Jack's former wife Eve. Koomson writes Libby as a sympathetic character - I felt like I was meant to dislike Jack for how he treats Libby, but for me neither of these were the best character in the book.

Eve is the one character we hear a lot about right from the start of the book, yet in reality we know nothing definite about her until halfway through when Libby makes a discovery at their home which threatens both her marriage to Jack and her own mental state. Libby discovers something that belongs to Eve, something which reveals every intimate detail about the woman who Jack still adores, and Libby is shocked by this information. The way Koomson reveals this to her readers is perfect - the whole scenario of Libby finding this out and her reactions make it all the more thrilling because I was convinced I could see how it was all going to work out, yet Koomson had me fooled once more! Eve's story builds and builds throughout the latter half of the book, sending the book hurtling to a dramatic and exciting conclusion.

As usual, Koomson hasn't shied away from a very gritty topic, and this one was probably the grittiest I have read from her so far. It's hard to review this aspect because I don't want to give the topics away because for me, uncovering Eve's story was the best thing about it and not knowing anything was a bonus without a doubt. Suffice to say, it's not a topic that is easy to read about, yet I found myself completely dedicated to the book, despite some of the more graphic scenes and nature of this part of the book. Koomson makes it compelling to read, and I felt so sorry for Eve, she is such a likeable character caught in an impossible situation, and you can't help but sympathise yet read with horror every action she takes, and you are just sure it is going to end horribly, yet Koomson twists and turns the story so much, I couldn't guess the ending for the life of me.

As you can probably tell from this glowing review, I absolutely adored this book and just couldn't put it down. It's a big chunk of a book at 464 pages, but it whizzed by for me, I was so absorbed in the story and desperate to find out what on earth was happening with Eve, Libby and Jack that I didn't notice the chapters flying by. I really liked how Koomson presented the story, with the flashbacks to the accident throughout the book keeping your mind on that mystery, then flitting to present day and back again to the information Libby uncovers about Eve. It's easy to follow despite these threads, and the stories all inter-mingle perfectly, making an absolutely stunning read. I cannot recommend it enough!
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars just brilliant!, 16 Feb 2011
I blame My Best Friends Girl for this obsession with Dorothy Koomson novels! what an excellent book, from start to finish it has had me completly hooked, so much so i'm quite sad i finished it so quickly. Following on from The Ice Cream Girls, DK has managed to keep two plotlines moving alongside another to meet with another excellent twist and explosive ending. not as upseting as some of her earlier novel, this like Ice Cream makes the reader really gt into the minds and lives of the characters, esp Eve and Libby. love it and in fact i might start it again!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting mystery, 3 Mar 2011
By 
Nicole Readsalot (Englewood, NJ, United States) - See all my reviews
I'm a huge fan of Dorothy Koomson's books (I ordered this from the US, after all!) and I was really looking forward to The Woman He Loved Before. I wish I could give this 3.5 stars, because that's a more accurate expression of my feelings about this book. There was a lot here that I liked, and a lot that seemed not to be addressed. The mystery of what happened to Eve was rather engrossing, and I admired the sympathy that Libby felt for her husband's first wife; it would have been all to easy for her to demonize the dead woman. I liked how different characters knew bits and pieces of events, which is more true to life, and less like those novels in which everybody seems to be omniscient.

I didn't find Jack to be a completely developed character. He seemed to exist as whomever he was expected to be at the time, which made him feel hollow to me. He was Eve's dream man, and Libby's distant husband, and really not much else. His thoughts never seemed to advance far beyond some variation on the theme of "poor me," and it really annoyed me. I kind of wanted Cerie from The Cupid Effect to come and straighten out Libby. It seemed like she could do so much better.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A joy to read!, 11 Feb 2011
By 
Best Crime Books "Best Crime Books" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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As always with Dorothy Koomson, I am unsure that she falls into the Chick Lit genre as her books always have an element of drama about them. Her books always seem to radiate true emotion and I always finish one of her books feeling sad that I have to wait for another. This book was no different and as I write my review I can't help but be annoyed that I will again have to wait what seems like forever for another one of her books.

This particular story seems at first glance to be a straight cut story about Jack's wife who died Eve. However, things are far from straightforward and as soon as you pick up the book and start to read you are drawn into the current life of Libby who is struggling with things, as well as Eve's past life and the secrets she holds.

The story is told cleverly and although towards the latter part of the book I thought I had it all figured out, I was shocked to realise I was wrong. Libby is a lovely character who has her own insecurities about her husband Jack and the things he hides. Although it's clear that Jack has a troubled past you can't help but warm to him as a reader. He may not be perfect but you can't help but feel that his heart truly belongs to Libby.

Dorothy Koomson has again written a book that is not only powerful but one that is quite heart wrenching. When the past of Jack and Eve begin to come out you begin to realise that things are quite as black and white as they seem. I found myself desperately wanting everything to be okay.

I loved the fact that story had two very separate threads, one in the past and one in the current, but the two stories would intertwine magically. I also loved the setting being mainly in Brighton as well as London. The main topics that are dealt with in the book are always the easiest for an author to deal with well but this book truly relays the situations in a great way. That may sound slightly strange as I haven't revealed the topics but to do so would be a real plot spoiler.

As ever DK has produced an outstanding book that I literally couldn't (or wouldn't as my husband kindly pointed out) put down. I cannot recommend this book, or for that matter this author highly enough. I have yet to find fault with her writing or any of her books. An absolute joy to read and one I suggest that you put on your list to read!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not brilliant, 30 Sep 2011
By 
This review is from: The Woman He Loved Before (Paperback)
This is the first Dorothy Koomson book I have read and whilst I have not been put off I am not dashing out to get another one either. I liked this book but nothing more. I was expecting this book to be about Libby's obsession with Eve and the affect it had on her marriage but actually other than scuttling down to the cellar to read Eve's diarys I didn't feel there was much else to show that she was affected. To me this book is more about Eve (the dead first wife) than Libby (the living breathing second one) and her relationship with Jack (her very 1 dimensional husband). Whilst I found Eve's story captivating I was left wanting to see more of the relationship between Jack and Libby which I felt was largely skimmed over. The suspense about whether Jack had killed Eve was basically laughable and Hector whilst obviously a despicable man when described by Eve didn't feature enough to make me feel he was menacing to Libby. I felt that Butch the dog and Jack had an equal showing in this book which can't be right surely?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing story, 16 Jun 2011
By 
Suzie (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
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I almost steered clear when I saw comments that implied this might be chick-lit but I'm glad I didn't as it's well-structured and at times suspenseful.

The story centres around Libby, intelligent, beautiful, and deeply in love with Jack, a wealthy solicitor with an elegant home that he has lovingly restored, but who still harbours strong feelings for his late wife. Libby's life changes dramatically when she is scarred after an accident as a passenger in Jack's car. What happened immediately after the accident is alluded to but not revealed until later, but there are hints that whatever it is will have a profound effect on the relationship.

As the book progresses, the story of Jack's first wife, Eve, is told through her diaries and, although unpleasant and possibly even offensive to some readers, it is every bit as intriguing as the modern-day story of Libby and Jack, especially in the way the characters become inextricably linked. While Libby and Eve are well drawn and really come to life (especially Eve), Jack lacks depth so never feels like a real person.

There are several surprising revelations - almost twists but not quite - that were skilfully woven into the story, which at times is quite gripping. There's certainly an element of mystery and suspense, and the ending is satisfying, but despite being enjoyable I didn't feel it was a five-star read. It's generally well written and I liked Dorothy Koomson's style so might have given it four stars had it not been (in the hardback edition at least) marred by spelling mistakes and missing words (mainly prepositions) that even a basic spell-checker should have spotted. These detract from the story (although other reviewers don't seem to have been so irritated by them) so I trust that they will have been corrected in subsequent editions, either by the author or by the publisher's editors.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Woman He Loved Before, 20 Mar 2011
By 
CC (Hampshire) - See all my reviews
The Woman He Loved Before tells the tale of a woman called Libby, whose husband is still very much troubled by the death of his wife, Eve. One day, whilst recovering from a serious accident, Libby comes across Eve's diaries and that's when everything really starts to unfold. Libby discovers that Eve ran away from home at a young age and ended up in London where the streets are definitely not paved with gold......

Initially I found this book quite slow to get into but once Libby discovered Eve's diaries, I could not put the book down and must have read half of it in one or two sittings. I really felt for Eve, she seemed so innocent and you longed for her life to change for the better. There were many twists and turns in this story and the ending is a big surprise.

This is not your average fluffy chick lit and I found this to be a very intelligent, emotional, thought-provoking read. I look forward to reading more by Dorothy Koomson.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not completely believable but very readable, 12 Nov 2011
This review is from: The Woman He Loved Before (Paperback)
WARNING: CONTAINS SOME PLOTLINES I have never read anything by Dorothy Koomson before and didn't know what to expect. I found the first third of the book a bit slow but then I was totally hooked. This story is told through the voices of Libby and Eve. Libby has fallen in love with Jack but feels that his dead wife, Eve, still holds his heart. Jack doesn't talk much about Eve and Libby learns that he was actually a suspect in her death. While recovering from a dreadful car accident she stumbles upon Eve's diaries and the story unfolds. Although I did enjoy the book I found the character of Eve a little irritating. I am sure that women the world over are forced into prostitution through dire circumstances but Eve starts down this route because she wants to buy an expensive new dress. She is an free woman with no hungry children to feed, surely she had more options? I found it difficult to summon up much sympathy for her. Koomson does a good job expressing how difficult it is for women to escape from such a destructive lifestyle. Eve is manipultaed horribly by repulsive men, including her own worthless boyfriend. The story does rather depend on the reader believing in an absolutely huge coincidence but is very enjoyable none-the-less.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars gripping, 22 May 2011
Read and loved all Koomsons books but this one is the best by far. I have never had so many early nights because I cant wait to go to bed to read it!!! It keeps you guessing from beginning to end and is a real page turner. Do not miss out on this book, it has something for everyone.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fab book!, 23 Mar 2011
This is another fabulous book from Dorothy Koomson. I've read all of her books to date, but this one had a twist which I just wasn't expecting. It's one of those books which you just want to sit up all night reading, but I have had to restrain myself otherwise I'd never get up for work! The characters are well thought out and and you can really identify with what they are going through, and despite switching backwards & forwards between the characters (instead of traditionally numbered chapters) the storyline is easy to follow. It's a really compelling read. I have recommended this author's books to several of my friends and family & they have all enjoyed them. It comes as no suprise that they make the bestseller's list, and this one is no exception!
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The Woman He Loved Before
The Woman He Loved Before by Dorothy Koomson (Paperback - 4 Aug 2011)
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