LAURA MUCHA’S heart stopped when she was 29.
Little did she know, her terrifying cardiac arrest would lead to love and the man who could mend her broken heart.
Laura, now 36, has been happily married to Ed for four years and the couple have a todder son.
But, a decade ago, falling in love and having a family seemed like a pipe dream and she has now written a book unlocking the secrets of love.
A self-confessed commitment phobic, her book Love Factually charts her quest to find – and understand – the meaning of love.
Former Edinburgh University student Laura spent years travelling around the globe, asking hundreds of strangers, from binmen and professors to models and footballers, to share their most personal stories, feelings and insights.
Seven years ago, she decided to turn her findings into a book, after her life changed in a heartbeat.
“Love is… a resting place from the difficulties of life.”
– Oscar, South Africa
Laura had been crossing the road when she was hit by a taxi. It’s thought the combination of glandular fever and the trauma may have caused postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, which affects the nervous system and causes an abnormal increase in heart rate.
She suffered a heart attack and ended up bedbound. And it was Ed – an old flame whom she’d dated for a few years at law school – who nursed her back to health.
“Love is… chemical reaction.”
– Adam, Antarctica
“He was a true friend in my time of need,” said Laura, four days before the world celebrates St Valentine.
“He brought me soup and offered to come with me to hospital.”
During endless waits for appointments, she transcribed all her interviews.
Her health scare gave her such a fright that, one day, she wrote down a list of all the things she wanted to do before she died – and finishing the book was top of the list.
“Love is… like the warmth from a sip of whisky spreading all around in your belly.”
– Leo, Switzerland
Love Factually draws on psychology, philosophy, anthropology, statistics and real-life experience to look at the science of who, how and why we love.
Some of Laura’s interviewees are Scottish and, she reveals, she only met her Scots dad for the first time a few years ago.
“My parents weren’t in contact, but it wasn’t an issue for me growing up without a dad. I was surrounded by so much love, it didn’t matter. Meeting him made me realise your family comes from relationships rather than genetics.”
Laura believes even those who spend their lives avoiding attachment can find love.
“Love is… many different things to different people in different circumstances. We should be very happy if we have any love in our lives, whatever form it takes.” – Sally, USA
“In the end, I got my happy ending,” she said.
“But I really don’t think I would have been able to marry Ed if I hadn’t written the book.
“Before that, I struggled with commitment.
“As a child, I was fascinated by love. After my grandad died, when I was just 11, I lost the only committed relationship I had been able to observe – his marriage to my grandmother.
“As a result, I struggled to understand romantic love. I interrogated virtually everyone I met about their relationships.
“Hearing about people’s experiences has taught me about love and relationships and how to change them, you have to change yourself.
“But, most importantly, love is one of the greatest joys we can experience as humans – and that you can find love if you really want to.”
Love Factually, published by Bloomsbury, is out now
“Love is… the most important part of your life. Without it you are nothing.”
– Rakesh, India