Loving Two Women

Romance - Historical
200 Pages
Reviewed on 08/14/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

Loving Two Women by Matthew Lutostanski is based on a true story. Tadeusz and Maria have been happily married for over 30 years. Since immigrating to England from Poland after the war, they have lived an idyllic life while trying to forget the traumas they suffered during the occupation by the Nazis and Stalin's Red Army. When a letter addressed to Tadeusz arrives, it turns his whole life into emotional chaos. His former fiancee, Ella, whom he believed to have died during the war, has discovered he did not die in a concentration camp. Ella tells Tadeusz her love for him is still as strong even though she is married. Tadeusz decides to keep the letter a secret from his wife and replies to Ella, believing it to be an innocent gesture of friendship. As the letters become more intense and passionate, Ella suggests they meet in Poland. Tadeusz is tempted to see his long-lost sweetheart but first, he has to confess his actions to Maria. Will she allow her husband to travel to meet Ella, knowing of the love they shared?

The subject matter of this delightful novel will definitely make you question your own morality. Is it possible for a man to love two women? I thought not until I read the heartbreaking story of Tadeusz and Ella. Both characters shared such an enviable loving but tragic relationship. Matthew Lutostanski relays the hardship of the war and the treatment at the hands of Stalin and Hitler's armies so realistically. The letters they exchanged were very emotional to read and depicted the tragedy of losing one another during the dreadful conflicts perfectly. My favorite of all the wonderful characters had to be Maria. What a strong, caring, and delightful woman. Her selfless acts of kindness towards her husband brought me to tears. There are excellent moments of tension and conflict as the plot unravels, which makes for compelling reading. The ending of Loving Two Women was quite a tear-jerker and I wonder if this is truly the end of the story or is there a sequel? I do hope so.

K.C. Finn

Loving Two Women is a work of fiction in the romantic, historical fiction and interpersonal drama sub-genres, and was penned by author Matthew Lutostanski. With a storyline based on true events, our central protagonist Tadeusz finds himself stuck in the middle of a complex emotional drama when a letter arrives from a young woman who was his fiancée before the Second World War. Now married to the lovely Maria for many decades, Tadeusz faces facts about Ella, the woman he almost married, and how circumstance stole them from one another for so long. What results is a heartfelt exploration of the nature of love and loss, and the ties that bind us to our past.

Author Matthew Lutostanski has crafted a tender and original love story based on some very complex situations, and of course those that many people would have faced in the past after being separated by war. I very much enjoyed the historical aspects of the piece, tracing through the past and finding out what happened to Tadeusz during the conflict and why he started a new life in a new country. His relationship with the two women within the plot was sincerely and emotively penned, but for me, Maria was the real star of the work. Empathetic and expressive, her actions and dialogue delivered a powerful emotional performance that gave the story its realism and core values. Overall, I would recommend Loving Two Women to readers who enjoy unusual and heartfelt personal dramas as well as engaging writing and narrative style.

Soumya Sreehari

In Loving Two Women, Matthew Lutostanski takes the reader through the impact of world-changing events via the lens of two lives. Decades after the devastation caused by World War II, Polish immigrant Tadeusz lives a semi-retired life in England with his loving wife Maria. His life is turned upside down when he receives a letter from Ella, his fiancée from the pre-war days. The love of his life who was lost to him when he was captured and thrown into a Siberian concentration camp during the war. Memories of a long-forgotten time of his life flood his heart and rekindle a long-lost affection. The dilemma between his undying love for his wife and his reignited love for his former fiancée is the crux of this unusual story.

As he goes about his routine of managing the hotel he owns with his wife Maria, Tadeusz is content with his life. Little does he know that an unexpected letter is about to change everything. Matthew Lutostanski unfolds the series of events in the story of Loving Two Women in a gripping manner. I eagerly waited to turn the page and learn what happened next. The events following the first letter, the turmoil faced by Tadeusz, the dynamics of Maria and Tadeusz’s relationship – all these gave me a deep insight into the psychology of human relations. The topic is so volatile that it is easy to be judgmental. However, all I could feel was empathy with the conflicting emotions expressed by Tadeusz, Maria, and Ella. Love is not always black and white.