Now that I’ve finished reading Both Sides of Love I need a Disney movie and a shot of tequila, stat! I started this book a few days before Thanksgiving thinking that it would be a good book to last me the entire week. I finished it in 24 hours. Cheese and crackers this book isn’t just an emotional roller coaster, it’s a freakin’ emotional experience! I’ll tell ya something though, it’s extremely rare for a book to leave me speechless, or make me want to stand up at the end and applaud, but this one made me do both. Now, I didn’t actually start clapping while standing all by myself in my living room, but the urge was definitely there. I’m weird enough as it is; I don’t need someone walking in on me clapping at an empty room.
The story in this novel is nothing short of spectacular. It takes a look at one woman and almost her entire life from her early twenties, to when her hair starts turning grey. Lizzie thought she had it all when she was young: she was beautiful, had an amazing BFF, and an incredible boyfriend named Daniel who she intended to marry after he returned from a summer in England. All of that changes one tragic night when she is involved in a car accident which leaves her physically scarred to the point where she doesn’t recognize herself in the mirror anymore. She is also left mentally scarred, as her best friend didn’t survive the accident. Rather than force her boyfriend to return to a crippled and unattractive woman, she sends him a letter effectively ending their relationship without telling him about the accident. Years later, Lizzie has changed her name to Beth, she has a husband, young daughter, and a noticeable limp. One day at a PTA meeting she meets another mother named Noreen who she immediately connects with. She has finally found a friend who she can confide in, and even act herself with, just like with her former friend who died so many years ago. There’s just one problem. It turns out that Noreen is married to Daniel. Do you see why I needed a shot of tequila!?!
Good God this book was intense. Lizzie/Beth immediately recognizes Daniel as the former love of her life, but doesn’t know if he recognizes her, and she constantly struggles with the decision of whether or not to reveal her true identity as the woman he has always longed for. These two shared such a brief romance when they were young, and yet they have always wondered throughout the years what might have been. What made this book incredible is that all of the characters, not just Beth and Daniel, seemed so unbelievably real. You really connect with each and every one. I think the main contributing factor to this was because the book was told from multiple character’s point of view. You experience all of their ups and downs along with them, including the daily struggles and concerns which we all go through in life. Finishing this book was a very interesting experience. I remember taking a deep breath and thinking, “Wow, I can’t believe something so incredible could happen to one person.” I literally had to remind myself that I’d just read a piece of fiction, and that the characters weren’t real people.
The story may have been exceptional, but the writing was superb. This book was expertly thought out. You could tell that a lot of time and effort went into evaluating the actions and decisions of each character. When first reading the description of the book I initially thought, “Well, Beth will eventually tell Daniel who she is, he’ll leave his wife, she’ll leave her husband, and they’ll walk off into the sunset together.” Oh no my friends. That would simply be too easy, and pretty unrealistic. This book explores the deeper emotions behind the decision-making process of each character, and we realize that Beth’s hesitancy towards revealing her true identity has more to do with her dedicated friendship with Noreen rather than her feelings for Daniel. That is why I LOVED this book! We are presented with the inner-workings of relationships; not just those between the two romantic leads, but those with their friends and family as well. Both Sides of Love also expands beyond this study of people and relationships to question what it really means to live a full life. Beth has always regretted her decision to leave Daniel, but does that mean that everything that’s happened to her afterwards means nothing? She has an amazing daughter, a loving husband, and a best friend in Noreen. What more could she ask for for herself?
This entire book is a build-up in that it literally doesn’t end until the very last page. Oddly enough, this almost made me feel that it ended too quickly. What I wouldn’t give for an epilogue, or an afterward of some kind. I’m not asking for much, just a couple of pages to see what our characters are up to 5 years down the road. Looks like I just didn’t want this book to end! Consider yourself warned though that it can get depressing at times. The book spans over many years, people die, lives are affected, and if you ever happen to cry while reading a sad book, then you will need a freakin’ barrel of tissues to get through this one. I’m talking ugly crying here people. All in all though, I personally felt that it was completely worth it. I can’t applaud the author enough for her mastery with words, and for all of the thought put into each and every sentence. How is this your first novel?! Bravo!
*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*
Series: Nope. If it was I’d probably lose my hair from all of the intensity.
Should You Read It? Yes! It isn’t your typical romance novel, but I must say I thought it was one of the best books I’ve read all year. Prepare yourself for an emotional ride.
Smut Level: No smut, but it wasn’t even needed.
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