Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout – #BookReview – #contemporaryliteraryfiction @RandomHouse

#1 Best Seller in Contemporary Literature Fiction

Book Blurb:

With her trademark spare, crystalline prose—a voice infused with “intimate, fragile, desperate humanness” (The Washington Post)—Elizabeth Strout turns her exquisitely tuned eye to the inner workings of the human heart, following the indomitable heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton through the early days of the pandemic.

Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth StroutAs a panicked world goes into lockdown, Lucy Barton is uprooted from her life in Manhattan and bundled away to a small town in Maine by her ex-husband and on-again, off-again friend, William. For the next several months, it’s just Lucy, William, and their complex past together in a little house nestled against the moody, swirling sea.

Rich with empathy and emotion, Lucy by the Sea vividly captures the fear and struggles that come with isolation, as well as the hope, peace, and possibilities that those long, quiet days can inspire. At the heart of this story are the deep human connections that unite us even when we’re apart—the pain of a beloved daughter’s suffering, the emptiness that comes from the death of a loved one, the promise of a new friendship, and the comfort of an old, enduring love.

His Review:

Can a loveless abusive childhood lay the cobblestones of life’s road in such a way that nothing changes for the individual? Elizabeth Strout’s character Lucy seems to have developed her character with this pattern in mind. Lucy’s mother was negative and abusive and she grew up defending herself by developing a mother in her own mind that she called her “good mother.”  Her good mother was always caring and lent supportive encouragement to everything she did.

Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth StroutLucy’s first husband William is a supportive man, a scientist, with a compassionate heart and protective attitude. With the advent of the Covid Pandemic, he encourages Lucy and him to escape to the clean air and trade winds upon a rocky point in Maine. The weather is always colder, the wind always blowing and the days less predictable. They have escaped New York City to become isolated in a desolate prison of their own making. How could she be happy in this desolation?

William and Lucy do not live together. His affairs early in their marriage had driven a wedge between them that could not easily be withdrawn. They shared a house but with separate bedrooms and an uneasy truce. All conversations are delicately planned which avoids the obvious elephant in the room. His marriage betrayal and additional indiscretions had led her to spread her own affair wings.

Elizabeth Strout is a very gifted writer who did not leave the central theme of her story throughout the read. She develops a character who is hell-bent on being unhappy throughout her life. This centralized dogma thoroughly confounded me as a reader. I have never read such a singularly minded character before. Lucy cannot accept any real progress or happiness in her life although she did have a happy second marriage with a man named David. But he died which added to her misery.

CE WilliamsCould anyone ever complete her as David had seemed to do? Her daughters grew up leading fairly accomplished lives but tended to avoid their mother. The reason was the negative aura surrounding her. Life becomes extremely tedious when every day seems to add more misery to an already dark existence. I kept having the beginning of that old Buck Owens song ring in my mind! “Gloom, despair, and agony on me, deep dark depression, excessive misery…” I believe Elizabeth Strout has developed a very dark and sensitive heroine confronting a noir-esque setting. 3.5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

Rosepoint Publishing: Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

 

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Book Details:

Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction, Literary Sagas, Saga Fiction
Publisher: Random House
ASIN: B09VWWN5BJ
Print Length: 291 pages
Publication Date: September 20, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: Lucy by the Sea [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

Elizabeth Strout - authorThe Author: Elizabeth Strout is the author of the New York Times bestseller Olive Kitteridge, for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize; the national bestseller Abide with Me; and Amy and Isabelle, winner of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in London. She lives in Maine and New York City.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc by Katherine J Chen – #BookReview – #medievalhistoricalfiction

Joan by Katherine J Chen

Book Blurb:

Girl. Warrior. Heretic. Saint? From the acclaimed author of Mary B comes a stunning, secular reimagining of the epic life of Joan of Arc.

Joan by Katherine J Chen1412. France is mired in a losing war against England. Its people are starving. Its king is in hiding. From this chaos emerges a teenage girl who will turn the tide of battle and lead the French to victory, becoming an unlikely hero whose name will echo across the centuries.

In Katherine J. Chen’s hands, the myth and legend of Joan of Arc is transformed into a flesh-and-blood young woman: reckless, steel-willed, and brilliant. This meticulously researched novel is a sweeping narrative of her life, from a childhood steeped in both joy and violence, to her meteoric rise to fame at the head of the French army, where she navigates the perils of the battlefield and the equally treacherous politics of the royal court. Many are threatened by a woman who leads, and Joan draws wrath and suspicion from all corners, while her first taste of fame and glory leaves her vulnerable to her own powerful ambition.

With unforgettably vivid characters, transporting settings, and action-packed storytelling, Joan is a thrilling epic, a triumph of historical fiction, as well as a feminist celebration of one remarkable—and remarkably real—woman who left an indelible mark on history.

His Review:

Jacque de Arc did not like his daughter. She was tall and gangly and he thrashed her whenever he got the chance. As she grew older she became unmanageable and someone who gave as good as she got. The death of her brother and older sister sent her into a life of revenge against her father.

Joan by Katherine J ChenWar in France is divided between many factions including the Burgundians, the Dauphine, John the Fearless, the English and others. Joan knows she is a child of God and attends mass two or three times a day. Her father has no use for her. The Dauphine who is the rightful heir to the throne is being hunted by his uncles and others aspiring to the throne and is in constant danger. France is fighting England as well as civil war throughout the kingdom. Charles the VII of France, the Dauphine and rightful heir to the throne of France, is protected by Joan.

The Dauphine seems unable to take care of himself and is not ready to take his throne. His uncles and relatives would like to eliminate him and rightfully become the king of France. Joan protects the Dauphine and leads armies into battle against the British and those who want to control the country. The king, under her protection, gains cities on his way to Paris. The population feels that Joan must be a witch or worse! Her victories are thought to be the work of the devil.

Charles becomes disillusioned with Joan and begins to fear his best ally. He puts her in prison after they captured Reims and are near the gates of Paris but wary of her becoming too powerful releases her again to man inadequate armies to continue regaining control of France (and to die in battle). The church also has trepidations regarding Joan’s success and begins to plan her overthrow and burn her at the stake.

Ms. Chen has written a very convincing tale of the plight of “The Maid of Orleans.” Anyone associated with King Charles and so many victories must be suspect! She is ultimately burned at the stake because of the suspicion of her being an instrument of the devil. France is free under Charles the VII but Joan is executed.

This is a well-written tale of the life and times of Joan of Arc. I strongly recommend it to history buffs and those who enjoy medieval novels. 4.5 stars

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Medieval Historical Fiction, Biographical Fiction
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: ‎ 1984855808
ASIN: B09HTKVV9P
Print Length: 353 pages
Publication Date: July 5, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc [Amazon]

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The Author: No bio included on either Amazon or Goodreads.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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