Saturday, August 15, 2015

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Idea of Love, by Patti Callahan Henry {ends 8/22}

"That's enough?" Mimi asked. "Really? You dream your whole life of having a real wedding dress design. You sketch and draw and devour magazines and books. You do research and read and have natural talent, and that's enough? Whoever told you that crumbs were enough? Who the hell told you that?" Mimi's voice rose, fighting for something Ella was unsure about.

"What? I mean, if I win, it will be amazing."

"Then forget about 'everything happening.' Get yourself a dress. Buy yourself a plane ticket. Go to New York. What are you waiting for?"

Ella closed her eyes. Right. What was she waiting for?

It took me a while to warm up to the main character, Ella, in The Idea of Love. Her husband has recently left her for her best friend's sister, so she has no support system; her best friend knew about the affair and didn't tell her. She's living in a crumbly old apartment because her husband has essentially kicked her out of the house (his name is on the house, hers is not). I was kind of thinking ... girl, stand up for yourself! Later in the novel, however, circumstances start to change, and with those, Ella as well.

Official synopsis:
As we like to say in the south: "Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story."

Ella's life has been completely upended. She's young, beautiful, and deeply in love—until her husband dies in a tragic sailing accident while trying save her. Or so she'll have everyone believe. Screenwriter Hunter needs a hit, but crippling writers' block and a serious lack of motivation are getting him nowhere. He's on the look-out for a love story. It doesn't matter who it belongs to.

When Hunter and Ella meet in Watersend, South Carolina it feels like the perfect match, something close to fate. In Ella, Hunter finds the perfect love story, full of longing and sacrifice. It's the stuff of epic films. In Hunter, Ella finds possibility. It's an opportunity to live out a fantasy – the life she wishes she had because hers is too painful. And more real. Besides. what's a little white lie between strangers? 


But one lie leads to another, and soon Hunter and Ella find themselves caught in a web of deceit. As they try to untangle their lies and reclaim their own lives, they feel something stronger is keeping them together. And so they wonder: can two people come together for all the wrong reasons and still make it right?

When Ella meets Hunter, a writer from L.A., she starts to realize that perhaps there IS life after Sims (her estranged husband) after all. Hunter is writing a book about the South - or so he says - and uses Ella to glean some "insider information" about Watersend, a fictional town (I believe) that seemed Savannah or Charleston-esque. Hunter starts to fall for Ella, too, who has recently been widowed ... or so she says.

(The catch: both of them are lying about their backstories ... slightly. Hunter is an L.A. movie screenwriter whose real name is Blake Hunter, and who is looking to write a big hit; Ella FEELS like she's widowed, but in fact her husband is very much alive, and still lives in Watersend.)

There's a close call one time when they run in to Betsy (the best friend's sister) and Sims at a local restaurant, but Ella hustles her and Hunter out of there, narrowly avoiding a conversation.

It was funny to see how these two characters (Ella and Hunter) were so drawn to one another, yet they were lying about their backstories. It's rather hard to change your entire personality, however, and the personalities that they were with each other were their true selves; it was just the facts about their lives that had been changed. 

I will say I liked the author's previous novel that I reviewed, The Stories We Tell, a little more than this one, but The Idea of Love had an interesting backstory and plot and is still a novel that I would recommend as a good read.

3.5 stars out of 5.
{Click here to purchase}

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

GIVEAWAY:

Enter via the widget below. One lucky reader will win a hardcover copy of The Idea of Love!

Giveaway will end on Saturday, August 22nd, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified the next day via email, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. and Canadian residents only, please.

Good luck!

The Idea of Love

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