Dorothy Koomson's early books were quite clearly in the chick-lit category, written from the perspective of a Black British woman. They were bright and upbeat yet more challenging than the usual chick-lit, stories of middle-class women facing difficult decisions, without some of the idiocy typical in the genre.The Woman He Loved Before was different - while it still had an educated Black woman (Libby) facing difficult decisions, the backstory was much darker, much more challenging. Libby is married to Jack, a widower who she suspects is still in love with his first wife, Eve. After a car accident that leaves Libby traumatised and housebound, she finds that not only did Eve die in suspicous circumstances, but the police consdier that the recent accident is Jack trying to be rid of wife number two. While recovering at home, and trying to come to terms with this, Libby finds Eve's diaries. A covering letter is attached, which claims that if she is dead, then she was murdered - not a comfortable thought.The first section of the book shifts between the present (the accident scene) and the past (Jack's courtship of Libby, told from the perspective of both Jack and Libby). When the past catches up to the present, the book shifts into the deeper past, through Eve's diary entries. As Libby reads further, the story grows darker - and it is this detail that I found difficult to read, yet without it the book would have been incomplete. Without wishing to give away any spoilers, Pretty Woman is a fantasy; Eve's diary is the reality.Picking a rating for this book is hard. I didn't like it, but that is a reflection on my reaction to the subject matter, not the story, the characters or the perspective - as a novel, it is much better than ok. It is well-written with engaging characters, each of whom has a distinctive yet realistic voice. The Woman He Loved Before it is a difficult, disturbing and challenging read, one that will stay with you much longer than other 'chick-lit' novels. Part of me would rather not have read it, part of me knows it is better that I did.