Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 27th 2015 by Poppy
Format read: ARC via publisher
Inspired loosely by E.M. Forster's A Room with a View, this is a book that will capture the hearts of readers everywhere.
In this coming-of-age romance, April Lindner perfectly captures the highs and lows of a summer love that might just be meant to last beyond the season.
And I'm happy to say that Love, Lucy met all of my expectations and then some. April Lindner introduces us to Lucy Sommersworth, a girl who has spent most of her struggling with her own desires to pursue acting, and her father's wish for her to have a more practical career.
As a compromise to her father, Lucy agrees to follow in his footsteps at his alma mater, in exchange for a trip to Italy. But it's on that trip to Italy, that Lucy meets Jesse and begins to realize that life isn't what she expected. And after she returns home, she quickly finds that her summer romance is continuing to influence her life...
April has written a smart, thoughtful tale on a girl with some familiar tropes - e.g. girl struggling between parental expectation and desire; girl meeting unexpected romance abroad - but has also put her own spin on Lucy's journey. It's pretty much impossible to not like (and sympathize!) with Lucy from the beginning of the novel. Both her desire to pursue something unusual, yet her struggle with wanting to keep the peace with her parents, is something that I think all readers can relate to, myself included.
(Seriously, I had flashbacks to my dad going: "You want to major in ENGLISH?")
As the story progresses, it's Lucy's relationship with Jesse which drives much of the narrative for the rest of the novel. April does a nice job of capturing the initial feelings of recklessness and excitement that I think come with most summer flings, but is careful to add small details to show that this is a romance that doesn't have to be a one-off thing. There were moments that made me think, "Yep - this is what a girl should look for in a guy," which I think will help a lot of younger readers consider what and who they might like in a boyfriend.
Once Lucy begins school, readers will likely appreciate her ability to branch out her interestes and experiences, while also sticking true to her wishes and recognizing what makes her happy. Without giving spoilers away, I throughly appreciated Lucy's strength and courage in conviction in creating her own path. There's a definite reminder that where there is a will, there is a way, and I appreciate that underlying lesson for readers.
All in all, both the book and the ending are sweet and perfect, and I challenge you to not close this book with a happy sigh.
I'm several years removed from college, but I found myself smiling as I read about Lucy and Jesse's highs and lows. I recognized the feelings of optimism and excitement in a new relationship, but also the feelings of indecisiveness as both of them worked to figure out their way in the world - including breaking free from family expectations. It's for that reason, and for the fact that April is a beautiful contemporary fiction writer full stop, that I highly recommend this book.
Recommended for: fans of Huntley Fitzpatrick, Kasie West and also for fans of the original A Room with a View. April takes her inspirations from the book seriously, and definite does its legacy justice, while creating her own lovely tale.
Giveaway time! :)
About the author:
April Lindner is the author of Catherine and Jane and a professor of English at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. Her poetry collection, Skin, received the Walt McDonald First-Book Prize in Poetry, and her poems have been featured in many anthologies and textbooks. April lives with her husband and two sons in Pennsylvania.