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by Alice Burnett

IDEAL LOVE by Alice Burnett


Can love survive death ? Can you love two people at once ?

Venus, a young mother and musician, is left devastated by the sudden death of her husband Gilles.

Discovering that he died of a treatable genetic condition she knew nothing about, Venus becomes haunted by the thought that he didn’t love her enough to save himself. She is also consumed by the fear that the same condition could claim their infant daughter.

When Venus meets the handsome Alex a few years later, the emptiness of her life becomes apparent. Her attraction to Alex eclipses even her preoccupation with her dead husband as she embarks on an unusual love triangle. But she doesn’t reckon on Alex’s moral integrity or on his past link with Gilles.

Shifting between past and present and narrated by both Venus and Gilles who recalls his passionate pursuit of her from beyond the grave, IDEAL LOVE charts their gradually connecting stories, alongside their often comic quests to make sense of life.

The result is an intimate and life-affirming novel about love, from its incandescent beginnings to its final breath and back again.

Themes & comparison titles

In rich and beautiful writing, full of subtle philosophical references, Alice creates an arresting story and uses characters to explore bigger issues such as love, sex and grief.

Think Barbara Kingsolver meets Alain de Botton, with a touch of David Nicholls & Sarah Waters.

Alice studied mathematics and philosophy at Cambridge and qualified as a lawyer before turning to writing.