Review: Is This Love? by CE Riley

Title: Is This Love?

Author: CE Riley

Pages: 224

Publisher: Serpent’s Tail

The Blurb

Did you mean to marry me? Did you understand the vows that we took? J’s wife has left, and J is trying to understand why. How could someone you loved so much, who claimed to love you once, just walk away? How could they send divorce papers accusing you of terrible things, when all you’ve ever done is tried to make them happy?

Narrated by J in the days, weeks and months after the marriage collapses, and interspersed with the departed wife’s diary entries, Is This Love is an addictive, deeply unsettling, and provocative novel of deception and betrayal, and passion turned to pain. As the story unfolds, and each character’s version of events undermines the other, all our assumptions about victimhood, agency, love and control are challenged – for we never know J’s gender. If we did, would it change our minds about who was telling the truth?

The Review

Sadly, Is This Love? was a DNF for me. I promise you, I gave it a good try. I got to 41% before I stopped. The premise was good. The opposing views of what it is like to go through a break up and the different ways that each person in a couple perceives the events of their relationship. However, both characters were unlikeable, they had no redeeming features, they both seemed to be unreliable narrators and I just didn’t root for either of them.

I can deal with a slow story if I like the characters. Equally I can deal with characters who aren’t very nice if the story is good but for me Is This Love? failed on both.

Is This Love? by CE Riley is available now.

For more information regarding Serpent’s Tail (@serpentstail) please visit

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