LOVE OF HER LIFE

Harriet Evans

 In London, Kate Miller had an enviable life: an exciting job at a fashion magazine, an engagement and a wedding to plan. Then it all fell apart — spectacularly, painfully, and forever. That was three years ago…and she fled to New York City to live with her mother and stepfather.

Now Kate is a true New Yorker, in love with the pace and rhythm of Manhattan. But deep down, she knows her life is in a holding pattern, that there is something — someone — more to love. But when her father becomes ill,

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 In London, Kate Miller had an enviable life: an exciting job at a fashion magazine, an engagement and a wedding to plan. Then it all fell apart — spectacularly, painfully, and forever. That was three years ago…and she fled to New York City to live with her mother and stepfather.

Now Kate is a true New Yorker, in love with the pace and rhythm of Manhattan. But deep down, she knows her life is in a holding pattern, that there is something — someone — more to love. But when her father becomes ill, Kate realizes it’s time to return and face the friends and the memories she left behind. What really happened before Kate left London? Can she pick up the pieces and allow herself to love life again?

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  • Downtown Press
  • Paperback
  • June 2009
  • 448 Pages
  • 9781439113158

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About Harriet Evans

 Harriet Evans is the author of the international bestseller Going Home, available from Downtown Press. She lives in London, where she works in publishing and is writing her next novel.

Praise

“Harriet Evans’ latest page turner…An unputdownable, gripping story of life, loss, and one girl’s search for happiness.”—Glamour

“You will cry. Guaranteed.”Company Magazine

Discussion Questions

When preparing to return to London, Kate remarks, “It will be hard. . . . I had to go back sometime . . . Just wish it wasn’t for this, that’s all” (p. 12). If not for her father’s illness, do you think Kate would have gone back? Would she ever have returned to her old self in New York, or did she need to go back to London to rediscover herself? Do you agree with her that she is “too good at running away” (p. 21)?

Discuss Kate’s “new self ” vs. her “old self ” (p. 14). Which Kate do you like better? Which one do you think Kate likes better? Would “old” Kate have shrugged off Andrew the way “new” Kate had at the beginning of the novel?

The scene where Kate reenters her old apartment is full of tumultuous emotion. What does Kate see that rips her feelings of comfort away and reminds her “why she was here” (p. 31)? Why do you think what she saw had that effect?

How does the author’s use of foreshadowing intensify the moment when the reader finds out what really happened in Kate’s past? How do the flashbacks add to this element? How would the book have been different if it started right after Kate graduated from college?

Kate and Mac’s first encounter results in nothing more than a onenight stand, or so it seems. Why do you think Kate remarked that that night she had a “strange sense of certainty, one that she never got back again” (p. 108)? Does she ever get that certainty back? Why doesn’t she make the effort to contact Mac once he leaves?

Sue Jordan, Kate’s old boss, criticizes Kate for her current career choice. What is Kate’s response? Why do you think she initially resisted Sue’s offer to write the column? What does Sue mean when she says, “we’re all the same, you know, it’s just different versions of being the same” (p. 180)? Do you agree?

As the events of the novel unfold, it appears that Kate is becoming deeply entrenched in the city she tried to forget. How do her struggles with staying or leaving affect her interactions with Mac, Zoe, Francesca, and her family? Do you agree that “if the last few weeks had taught her anything, it was that she . . . had to start being brave and get out there” (p. 354)?

When Charly and Kate finally see each other after so many years, were you surprised to learn about Charly’s boyfriend’s ongoing infidelities? Why do all the good memories of their friendship come flooding back? Discuss how their conversation at the pub leads to Kate saying “. . . you [and your boyfriend] deserve each other, Charly, and I can’t feel sorry for you” (p. 368).

Kate goes through a tremendous transformation throughout the novel. What makes Kate become comfortable with the person she is? Or does she never reach that milestone?

Before Kate returns to New York, Lisa remarks “. . . you were living the life you thought you ought to be living . . . I’m sure you wouldn’t ask for any of what’s happened. But it’s been good for you” (p. 385). Do you agree with Lisa? Which experience do you think helped shape Kate the most? When is she at her weakest? Her strongest?

Did the ending of The Love of Her Life surprise you? Is this where Kate is meant to be? Is this the man whom she is meant to be with? Do you think she might run again, or is she here to stay? And why?