Book review: The Man Who Didn't Call by Rosie Walsh

In the space of a few hours, the script of Sarah Mackey's life was completely rewritten.
The Man Who Didnt Call by Rosie WalshThe Man Who Didnt Call by Rosie Walsh
The Man Who Didnt Call by Rosie Walsh

She met a man, spent the next seven days with him and they both knew with certainty that they were meant to be. So why isn’t he answering her calls?

If you only read one romance this year, Rosie Walsh’s mysterious, magical story – which hugs a dark secret to its fast beating heart – could be the one you wouldn’t want to miss.

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Walsh already has four novels under her belt – written under the pen name Lucy Robinson – but this funny, warm and intriguing book is the first to appear under her own name, and what a delightful and original odyssey it is.

A journey of love, an enigma, a warm and insightful exploration of friendship, families and the insecurities and vulnerabilities that make us human, The Man Who Didn’t Call will sweep you off your feet and leave you breathless with its stunning twist in the tail.

Sarah Mackey – back in England from California where she now lives and works – is not in a good place. She is about to get divorced after 17 years of marriage and her 40th birthday is fast approaching.

But out walking in the countryside, she meets local carpenter Eddie David and they instantly click. They spend a blissful week together and it feels like they have known each for a lifetime. After just seven days, Sarah muses, ‘it felt like someone had matched us, maybe at birth, and nudged and aligned and planned and schemed until we finally met.’

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The sadness of the past and the uncertainty of the future seem to dissolve when Sarah is with the quietly strong Eddie and as for the equally smitten Eddie, he tells his new love that he ‘can’t know you’re somewhere in the world and not be with you.’

So when Eddie has to leave for a pre-booked holiday in Spain and promises to call Sarah from the airport, she has no cause to doubt him. But he doesn’t call, he doesn’t answer her emails and social media draws a blank.

Sarah’s friends tell her that men do this all the time and to move on and forget him, but she knows they’re wrong and is convinced that something must have happened and that there must be a reason for his silence.

Desperate to gain control over this ‘uncontrollable situation,’ Sarah won’t give up the battle to find Eddie but when she finally finds there was a reason for his silence, she discovers it was because of the one thing they didn’t share with each other… the truth.

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Walsh’s cleverly paced and multi-layered story unfolds with the grace and beauty of a summer rose as we join Sarah on her tireless, obsessive search to find out why Eddie has cut himself off from her so suddenly and so inexplicably.

The classic ‘boy meets girl’ romance is turned on its head in this enthralling page-turner which is as exhilarating as it is moving. Serious issues like guilt, loss and grief are handled with warmth and sensitivity as we feel Sarah’s desperation and share the closeness and humour of her loyal group of friends.

Moving and captivating, heartbreaking and heart-lifting, this is a beautiful tale of love with a super subtle spin.

(Mantle, hardback, £12.99)