Book Review: The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo


Two people. One choice. What if?

Every love story has a beginning…

11th September 2001. Lucy and Gabe meet in New York on a day that will change their lives – and the world – forever. As the city burns behind them, they kiss for the very first time.

Over the next thirteen years they are torn apart, then brought back together, time and time again. It’s a journey of dreams, of desires, of jealousy, of forgiveness – and above all, love.

As Lucy is faced with a devastating choice, she wonders whether their love is a matter of destiny or chance.

…what if this is how their story ends? 

Published 18th May by HQ (UK) 

I'd read so many amazing things about this book, with praise for its beauty and intense emotional impact. It sounded very much like my perfect type of read, but there's always that concern when you've built up your expectations that reality won't quite live up to it. So, to make it clear right away. This book completely lived up to my expectations and I absolutely adored every single word.

The beauty is in its simplicity really, the story of falling in love and developing a connection to last a life time. It happens all the time, every day the world over, unremarkable to others while being sweepingly huge and all consuming to individuals. What's special about this book is how Jill Santopolo sweeps the reader along with Lucy and Gabe's romance, intimately inviting them to share the intensity of it all. The book is narrated by Lucy, speaking in an almost confessional style to Gabe, so that all the emotion, excitement, disappointments and dreams are first hand as she spills her heart, leaving nothing unsaid.

The book spans over a decade, as the couple's lives take them in different directions yet remain connected. Lucy and Gabe meet on September 11th 2001, as terror and tragedy unfold around them, and while the book isn't really about the attacks themselves, I thought the author conveyed the rawness of emotions and intensity of connections made in the face of such tragedy, and how the experience influences their future choices and direction, convincingly and honestly.

Jill Santopolo's writing is beautiful. It just flows. Reading The Light We Lost is effortless, despite the emotional journey of highs and lows. Her portrayal of relationships is exquisite, depicting strengths and flaws, generosity and selfishness, happiness and heartache. As Lucy tells her side of this story of enduring love, there's a feeling we're heading to an inevitable, without knowing what it is. When it came though, it rocked me - leaving me to pick up my broken heart and put it back together again. The Light We Lost is simply stunning, every word of that early praise I'd read is true, Romantic and emotionally intense and written with the most beautifully effortless prose, I know I'll be thinking about this book for a long time to come.

(I read am advance proof copy courtesy of the publisher and netgalley)

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