When struggling novelist James Hernandez meets poet Louisa “Lou” Bell, he’s sure he’s just found the love of his life. There’s just one problem: she’s engaged to his oldest friend, Rob. So James toasts their union and swallows his desire.
As the years pass, James’s dreams always seem just out of reach—he can’t finish that novel, can’t mend his relationship with his father, can’t fully commit to a romantic relationship. He just can’t move on. But after betrayal fractures Lou’s once-solid marriage, she turns to James for comfort.
When Lou and James act on their long-standing mutual attraction, the consequences are more heartbreaking—and miraculous—than either of them could have ever anticipated. Then life throws James one more curveball, and he, Rob, and Lou are forced to come to terms with the unexpected ways in which love and loss are intertwined.
This book didn't go the way that I expected it to, but instead it was incredibly touching, leaving me in a bundle of emotions and tears.
Incredibly well written, this book actually made me go back several times to check that it was indeed a work of fiction and not a memoir. I enjoyed the occasional use of second person, which made me feel involved in the story and gave me another lens through which to read the story.
I can't say I was terribly fond of James as a character, but seeing him grow was nonetheless an intriguing experience. The way that he interacted with his dreams was so terribly realistic and very telling of what real people go through, but the way he ultimately chose an unexpected path was really sweet.
Lou, also, kind of irked me, but I think that's because of how James portrayed her. I appreciated her reality check when it came to the idea of love and how it lasts, endures, and changes throughout time, but in general James made her seem too perfect for no apparent reasons.
The way this dealt with death felt very poignant and realistic--from a scene early in the book to one near the end, I felt like characters dealt with death in a way that I could relate to, and the scenes were touching. James makes a lot of poignant observations about how humans grieve.
As long as you don't mind crying, I recommend this book.