I’ve spent the last day trying to come up with a way to review this book. Every once in a while I find myself gobsmacked with a novel that just hits me so hard, that I can’t find the words. I considered not writing a review, thinking maybe this one was just too personal and I should let it go. But, the part of me that needs to share wonderful things answers back “no way, go shout about the book”. So, here I am, my third attempt to review.
The Idea of You starts slowly and with a prologue that threw out all kinds of red flags for me, wondering if I’d be able to empathize with the protagonist, Lucy. I quickly realized that I could, especially when her profound loneliness broke my heart as she compared her life-a very successful one as a top advertising executive-to that of her peers, all who were mothers. One thing stood out immediately about Lucy, she yearned to hold her own child.
Lucy doesn’t stay lonely for long, meeting Jonah and marrying. After just a year of marriage, Lucy and Jonah are joyously happy and expecting their first child. Until they’re not. Whether it’s her age (40) or just fate, Lucy finds that holding her own child becomes an elusive endeavor. When Jonah’s teenage daughter, Camille, comes to live with them, tensions soon rise between Lucy, Jonah, and Camille, adding insult to injury for the hurting Lucy.
Lucy’s journey is one that many of us can easily relate to, myself included. The pain of multiple miscarriages is hard to describe. There’s hope, an immediate connection with the life inside you that you recognize as your little one, then the despair when the blood comes, followed by the physical and emotional pain of loss. This magnifies with each pregnancy, eventually, as Jonah remarks to Lucy, taking the joy away. Author Amanda Prowse captures all of this in a simple and compelling way.
As the tensions rise between Lucy, Jonah, and Camille, Lucy’s secret (given with few clues in the prologue) rises to the surface, slowly unraveling her. Her losses begin to blend together until she breaks, an emotional tide that had me sobbing. How she eventually deals with this, accepting that she’s never been alone and that perhaps things had unfolded as they should, leads to growth and an unexpected joy she never anticipated.
Motherhood is at the heart of The Idea of You: Lucy’s own journey, Camille’s relationship with both her mother and stepmother, and Lucy’s relationship with her own mother, strained for years. There’s also the conflict we, as women, all face: can we have it all? The notion that each of us can, but in our own way, is the true beauty of this novel.
5 sobbing, beautiful stars for The Idea of You.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for honest feedback.
The Idea of You was published in March 2017 by Lake Union Publishing.