Hope you’re all having a good weekend – the first weekend of “freedom” since last year if you’re based in the UK! Today I’ll be sharing my review of Sophie Kinsella’s latest book Love Your Life. It was published back in October, and as a massive fan of Sophie Kinsella, I added Love Your Life to my TBR list without any hesitation. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Love Your Life since I didn’t actually read the blurb beforehand, but it turned out to be a thoroughly entertaining book. Scroll down for my full review.
I love you . . . but what if I can’t love your life?
Ava is sick of online dating. She’s always trusted her own instincts over an algorithm, anyway, and she wants a break from it all. So when she signs up to a semi-silent, anonymous writing retreat in glorious Italy, love is the last thing on her mind.
Until she meets a handsome stranger. . . All she knows is that he’s funny, he’s kind and – she soon learns – he’s great in bed. He’s equally smitten, and after a whirlwind, intoxicating affair, they pledge their love without even knowing each other’s real names.
But when they return home, reality hits. They’re both driven mad by each other’s weird quirks and annoying habits, from his eccentric, naked-sauna-loving family to her terribly behaved, shirt-shredding dog. As disaster follows disaster, it seems that while they love each other, they just can’t love each other’s lives. Can they overcome their differences to find one life, together?
At the beginning of Love Your Life we are introduced to Ava, an aspiring author who has just broken up with her boyfriend. After trying – and failing – to meet someone on a dating app, Ava decides that love can wait and sets off to Italy for a remote writers retreat. She hopes it’ll give her the motivation and inspiration to finish the novel she’s working on, not expecting to fall in love with one of the men on the trip. As part of the retreat, Ava and the man aren’t allowed to reveal any personal info to each other, even their names, and refer to themselves as Aria and Dutch, respectively. When Ava and her new guy (who is actually called Matt) return to London, it becomes apparent that they have practically nothing in common with each other. Will Ava and Matt be able to work through their differences or will they decide to let each other go?
Sophie Kinsella’s protagonists are always endearing and relatable, and Ava is no exception. She’s really supportive of her friends and is absolutely besotted with her dog Harold. Ava has a habit of hoarding old books and furniture that would otherwise be thrown away, and this infuriates Matt. While Ava is a likeable character, she can be annoying at times, focussing too much on Matt’s negative traits. She also becomes obsessed with Matt’s ex Genevieve and is quite demanding, wanting Matt to be a vegetarian like her.
Matt is a fantastic love interest for Ava: he’s a really sweet guy and brings back the rocks they found on a beach in Italy for Ava. However, Matt is a complete pushover, allowing his parents to boss him around and act like the family business is the only important thing in his life. He sometimes gets a bit distant from Ava and doesn’t share things that he should. Matt really should’ve been more honest with Ava about Japan and the fact that one of his exes was at the retreat.
Aside from Ava and Matt, there is a plethora of characters that appear in Love Your Life. They all have unique personalities and leap off the page. There’s Nell, one of Ava’s friends, who is brutally honest and has health issues. Sarika is also part of Ava’s group and believes that love can only be found through algorithms. Maud is Ava’s other friend: she’s a single mum who has a tendency of asking everyone for favours. Matt lives with his friends Topher and Nihal, who are antisocial but instantly hit it off with Ava’s friends (Nell and Topher even start dating).
But the true highlight of Love Your Life is Harold the dog. I loved reading about Harold’s antics: my favourite is when he tears up a picture of Genevieve in front of Matt’s parents (who adore her). Harold clearly has some behavioural issues (which Matt isn’t reluctant to point out), but Ava just laughs it off.
Love Your Life isn’t without its flaws. I would’ve liked the Italy section of the book to be a bit longer – it ended almost as quickly as it began, and I didn’t get to see much initial chemistry between Ava and Matt. I also feel that having some chapters from Matt’s POV would’ve added something to the story and made me understand his side of the relationship more. In addition, the instalove element of the novel was unrealistic, as was the fact that Ava and Matt were so eager to make things work despite their many differences. Why did they HAVE to be together? Nevertheless, I really rotted for Ava and Matt and I’m glad they were able to work things out.
For me, it seems that the main message Sophie Kinsella is trying to get across in Love Your Life is that no one is perfect. We all have aspects of our personalities or lives that other people won’t get, but if you truly love someone, you’ll make an effort to look past it. The book also emphasises how integral good communication is in a relationship. It’s better to get to know someone properly when you first meet them and be honest with them, to avoid problems further down the line (although I do realise that this was against the rules in the retreat Ava and Matt went on).
In summary, Love Your Life is a light-hearted romcom that will be devoured by Sophie Kinsella fans. It’s classic Sophie Kinsella, with the ditzy-but-relatable protagonist, the charming love interest (who tends to be a bit of a workaholic), and the LOL moments. Love Your Life reminded me why Sophie Kinsella is one of my auto-buy authors. I’ll be first in line when she next releases a book.
Have you read Love Your Life or anything by Sophia Kinsella?