The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

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The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: The events of 9/11 spark a romance that spans over years in this well written if rather uneven read.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: May 2017
Publisher: HQ
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0008224561

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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.

September 11 2001 is a date which is carved into the memory of all who were aware of the tragic events of that day - a moment in history that changed the shape of the world. It forms a starting point for author Jill Santopolo's tale here - a spark which ignites into a fire that Gabe and Lucy try to extinguish over the years, but the heat of their passion is one that threatens to burn the lives they've built for themeselves. As such, this is a passionate, vibrant read - with the passion between Gabe and Lucy serving as the main pull to keep the reader gripped as they follow Lucy as she goes from college student through to adult life. Santopolo is a talented author, and has a knack for setting and time, easily transporting the reader into the New York of the early 2000's with considerable conviction. The twists of the story are cleverly put together too - always dangling small morsels in front of the reader to keep them turning the pages, but never revealing too much and spoiling events before exactly the right moment.

With all elements combined, it's a strong read that's well written, but I have to admit it's not one that I enjoyed all that much - as whilst Lucy and Gabe's affair is one that is both compelling and well written, the selfishness of their actions can be rather hard to read. In addition, Santopolo doesn't allow time for consequences to be fully explored, leaving both the book and the characters feeling slightly unfinished. Added to that fact is how all of the characters are drawn - all interesting, developed and damaged, but none all that likeable. I fully appreciate that this makes these characters all the more real - but it's hard to get behind two characters whose juvenile love and behaviour damages and destroys the lives they've built up seperate from each other. It's telling that Santopolo wrote this after a relationship of hers ended prematurely, and the What If's that we all have at the end of a relationship clearly informed her decisions when putting this book together. As such, it's a success, and one that tells a tale of lasting love well, with beautifully crafted prose and a plot that leaves the reader with no choice but to keep turning the pages, but also one I won't be in a rush to pick up again! Many thanks to the publishers for the copy.

For further reading I recommend Arcadia by Lauren Groff - a tale that transports the reader with a strong sense of setting, and then envelops them into an intriguing tale packed ith fascinating human interactions. Well worth a read, as is her second novel - Fates and Furies

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Buy The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo at


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