Love, Lucy by April Lindner
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What's it about?
Lucy Sommersworth is a talented actress who always got the lead part in her high school plays. She had planned to become a theater major in college, but her father had other ideas for Lucy's future. After much discussion, Lucy traded away her dreams of a life of drama for a more sensible path as a business major. Her consolation prize is a once in a lifetime, summer-long backpacking trip through Europe. Lucy and her friend, Charlene, get to see the sights, stay in hostels and have vacation flirtations with foreign boys. Most of the trip is fun and free, but by the time they near the end of the trip and arrive in Italy, the two are beginning to annoy each other. When their hotel room in Florence doesn't have the perfect view they were promised, Charlene complains and ends up getting a different room, a room with a view. Unfortunately, this room already belongs to two guys who work there, Jesse and Nello, but they let the girls take the room for the duration of their stay anyway.
When Lucy and Charlene have an argument, Lucy ends up wandering the streets of Florence alone. She falls in love with the beautiful city and she eventually crosses paths with Jesse again. It turns out he's an amazing musician who performs on the streets for money, but mostly because he loves it. She becomes mesmerized by him and the two begin an epic, whirlwind romance. This is the most wonderful time of Lucy's life, but as her time in Italy draws to a close, she and Jesse know that their relationship must come to an end. Lucy has to go home and face the reality of business school. They promise to stay in touch, but they both have to move on with their lives.
Once Lucy is home and in college, she does everything she can to forget about Jesse, but she can't get him out of her head. After several awkward emails pass between them, Lucy starts to give up on the idea that Jesse was the love of her life. She makes friends and even starts dating Shane, a "perfect" guy. He's attractive, nice and he's also a business major. They seem to have a lot in common, but he's not Jesse. Lucy is determined to move on and make it work with Shane. Lucy is going to have the future her father wants for her....but maybe it won't hurt to audition for one more play. When she gets her dream role, her future becomes more uncertain than she could ever imagine. And things get even more complicated when Jesse comes back into her life. Lucy has to decide what's more important to her; will it be love, family, a solid future or her own dreams?
This book is an absolute dream! It's beautiful and magical (without any actual magic) and it's a breath of fresh air. Oh, it made me want to go back to Italy! Love, Lucy hit all the right notes. Part of it is a modern reimagining of A Room With a View by E.M. Forster. I never read the book, but I saw the movie a long time ago. I vaguely remember it, but mostly I remember how gorgeous it was, just like Love, Lucy. I do not think it's necessary to have previous knowledge of A Room With a View to enjoy Love, Lucy. When Lucy and Jesse are in Rome, they reenact scenes from the movie Roman Holiday. I absolutely LOVE that movie! If you haven't seen it, you really should. Audrey Hepburn is amazing. You'll probably want to see it after you read Love, Lucy.
The romance in Love, Lucy is breathtaking, the scenery is spectacular and the story is wonderful. Your heart will swell and it will break. You will hope for the best for Lucy as she goes through the anguish of losing her first love and she discovers who she truly is and what she really wants out of her life. This is YA, but it could easily carry over to an NA audience since the characters are a little older. I think this is a contemporary romance that everyone can enjoy. I adored Love, Lucy and I'm lucky that I got to thank April Lindner personally for allowing me to go on this fantastic journey.
There are other reasons that I connected so much with Love, Lucy. First of all, I love Italy, especially Florence. April's spot on descriptions of the city took me right back there.
That's me on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence (I bought that hat from a street vendor). Oh, how I miss it! I've been there more than once and I'd love to return someday. My memories of Italy are full of happiness and wonder, and Love, Lucy brought it all back to me. Even if you've never traveled there, April Lindner gives you a magnificent tour in this book.
Also, I was a musical theater major in college, but I did not finish. I used to love acting and singing, but as I got older, it became less and less of a priority. I used to sing in a band and do community theater as well, but that was a long time ago.
That's one of my favorite pictures of myself on stage as Rosamund in The Robber Bridegroom.
So, you see, Lucy could have been me. At least that's how I feel. I really connected with this book.
And thank you!