Friday, March 4, 2016

Julie's Review: Losing the Light

Author: Andrea Dunlop
Series: None
Publication Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Pages: 336
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: When you know it's not going to end well from the first line but you need to read the last line to know what happens.
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: A smart, obsessive debut novel about a young woman studying abroad who becomes caught up in a seductive French world—and a complex web of love and lust. When thirty-year-old Brooke Thompson unexpectedly runs into a man from her past, she’s plunged headlong into memories she’s long tried to forget about the year she spent in France following a disastrous affair with a professor. As a newly arrived exchange student in the picturesque city of Nantes, young Brooke develops a deep and complicated friendship with Sophie, a fellow American and stunning blonde, whose golden girl façade hides a precarious emotional fragility. Sophie and Brooke soon become inseparable and find themselves intoxicated by their new surroundings—and each other. But their lives are forever changed when they meet a sly, stylish French student, Veronique, and her impossibly sexy older cousin, Alex. The cousins draw Sophie and Brooke into an irresistible world of art, money, decadence, and ultimately, a disastrous love triangle that consumes them both. And of the two of them, only one will make it home.  

Review: Losing the Light is a novel about first love, friendship, finding your place and learning what it is to be yourself. We meet Brooke when she's in her 20s and about to leave NYC for the suburbs and embark on her new life with her fiance. She goes to a party hosted by her friend and bumps into someone that she knew 10 years prior. It is in the rest of the book as a flashback, we get to know a younger Brooke and her experience in France.

While Brooke seems a little innocent and naive, it turns out she's got a little bit of a wild streak in her. It's what gets her the trip for a school year to France. It is through this program that she meets and strikes up a friendship with Sophie. Frankly, I think that this is a friendship of circumstance rather than one with deep ties. I'm not sure that Brooke and Sophie would have been friends if they wouldn't have had a shared experience or had stayed in California. That's not to say that there wasn't affection between the friends but at times it didn't seem genuine to me. Brooke was insecure when she was around Sophie. She thought that Sophie lit up a room when she walked in and discounted herself when around Sophie. I actually wanted Brooke to wake up and realize that she had more to offer than Sophie. It wasn't to say that Sophie wasn't bright and fun but Brooke was those things as well but just more reserved. Brooke and Sophie begin to distance themselves from the other American students at the institute but hanging out with a local girl, Veronique and her cousin, Alex. It is evident to the reader that Alex is someone not to trust but our sweet and a bit naive, Brooke is going to have to learn that the hard way.

You know what is going to happen, it's not really a shock but it is amazing how it takes Brooke a while to figure it all out. I think she probably knew what was going on but chose to ignore it because she was so enamored with Alex and the French way of life. While I liked Sophie, I will admit I didn't totally trust her. Maybe it's because I could see how things were going to go down or maybe I felt she was fake. I also didn't think she was the best influence or genuine friend to Brooke. Sophie always seemed to be trying to prove herself.

Ms. Dunlop did a fantastic job of making you feel like you were right with Brooke while she was having her experience in Nantes. You could feel the sun on your face when they were at the beach in Cap Ferrat. You could feel Brooke's jealousy and her elation through the pages. The fact that I could connect on that kind of level with Brooke enhanced my reading experience.

If you are looking for a great coming into adulthood novel, then Losing the Light is one for you. I am definitely looking forward to what Ms. Dunlop writes next.



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