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Love Market

Some people long for what they can’t have. Others have something that can never truly be theirs.

When a marriage ends, and a first love reappears, Celine Lewis is about to learn that moving on is as complicated as going back.

She saw him on a Saturday in London. She was there with her husband, to celebrate their  tenth anniversary. She recognized him instantly. Her first love. She hadn’t seen him in fifteen years.

They had met on an around-the-world adventure, in Vietnam’s famous Love Market – the misty mountain village square where lovers gather once a year to trade in the most unusual of commodities: their hearts. Patrick Shale was a Canadian foreign correspondent, ten years older than Celine – a tourist there, just like she was. Over the course of just four days they fell in love. Then Patrick went back to his life, and Celine came home, and met and married Mike.

Now three years after seeing Patrick quite by chance in London, her marriage to Mike is over. Was it because they had never been right for each other all along? Did seeing Patrick again confirm this? Or was theirs as good a marriage as any can be, until the stress of their daughter’s accident was a test that they both failed?

Twelve-year-old Aimee is adjusting to life after a traumatic brain injury. Celine is running her own business, called The Love Market, a professional matchmaking service in Northern England. She’s coping with the unanticipated heartbreak of a marriage ending, and a daughter who wants to know the “adult” reason why her parents split up. Then there is her romanticist sister, who is egging her on to look up Patrick on the Internet.

When, out of the blue, Patrick emails, there clearly is more than one matchmaker in Celine’s family. But what can Patrick want from her after all this time? Tempted to find out if all the old feelings can possibly still be there, she’s thrown into tailspin again when Mike has an unusual proposition for her, forcing her to question whether a divorce really means it’s over.

Because I Can’t Have You is a novel about the different ways we love and the choices we make for it. It’s about new starts, letting go when you have to, and holding on to the idea of family no matter what. Above all it’s a love story.