Acts of Love by Talulah Riley

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Acts of Love by Talulah Riley

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Lauren True
Reviewed by Lauren True
Summary: Sensitively and intelligently written, this book's appeal is in the way it repeatedly thrills and frustrates its reader, causing one to question one's own views on idealistic love, among many other things.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: August 2016
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN: 978-1473637900

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Bernadette St John presents herself as the very face of contemporary feminine independence. She is strong, career-driven, beautiful… and definitely holds the attention of the public. For Bernadette is the Man Whisperer, winning herself fame with her ability to coax secrets from the richest and most powerful men of the world, exposing them with controversial distaste in her articles. Hidden behind such a conniving and judgemental persona, however, is a deep insecurity, and a desperate longing to be loved by the perfect man. She has already decided that the newly engaged Tim Bazier is the only candidate for such a position in her heart, and will stop at nothing to win him back from his all-too-lovely fiancé. Yet what is perfect is a subject for discussion, and charismatic entrepreneur Radley Blake's unwavering attention has also fallen upon the feisty journalist. It is a weaving tale of will-they-wont-they that Riley spins here, one that I found myself unable to put down.

Talulah Riley is well known as an actress and entrepreneur. Finding that she had turned her hand to writing was a source of intrigue for me, and seemingly to the internet as well, since there has been much excitement over her upcoming major debut. I will emphasise now that in my opinion this novel certainly meets, if not exceeds, expectations. From the first chapter, in which our protagonist's plans to woo the man of her dreams are spectacularly thwarted, we discover the internal conflict of her mind, following with interest as she begins to realise that not every love story has the happy ending she so craves.

Yet when one door shuts, another opens, and Radley Blake slips smoothly into the scene before anybody knows what's happening. I love how the chemistry between Bernadette and Radley is palpable even from the beginning. He is her equal, her match, and she is the only one who cannot see it as she clutches at false hopes concerning Tim. Both key players in the upcoming wedding, Bernadette and Radley are continually thrown together, and inevitably begin to rub off on each other as they collide. Despite Bernadette's underlying misandry, it is hard not to develop a fondness for Radley, who sees past the Man Whisperer and believes he can overcome her single-minded view of love. Riley crafts their relationship to be satisfying, but frustrating: often, just as the reader fully expects a kiss, or more, the situation alters and the moment is lost.

Perhaps my favourite thing about this book is its raw feeling of reality. Sometimes in life, people lie and pretend. Sometimes people cheat, and lust, and anger for the wrong reasons. Sometimes, people are just too caught up in their own misery that they fail to see a good thing when it stands right in front of them. Riley knows this, she understands this, and her characters reflect it in a hugely relatable way, guaranteed to inspire empathy in many a reader.

If you like Acts of Love, I would strongly recommend that you take a look at One Day by David Nicholls. This too is fascinating in its realism, and explores modern independence as well as relationships.

Booklists.jpg Acts of Love by Talulah Riley is in the Top Ten Women's Fiction Books of 2016.

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Buy Acts of Love by Talulah Riley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Acts of Love by Talulah Riley at


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