Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Review: Losing the Light by Andrea Dunlop

Publisher: Atria Books
Pub. Date: February 23rd, 2016
Pages: 336

Genre: Contemporary Fiction


A smart, obsessive debut novel about a young woman studying abroad who becomes caught up in a seductive French world—and a complex web of love and lust.

When thirty-year-old Brooke Thompson unexpectedly runs into a man from her past, she’s plunged headlong into memories she’s long tried to forget about the year she spent in France following a disastrous affair with a professor.

As a newly arrived exchange student in the picturesque city of Nantes, young Brooke develops a deep and complicated friendship with Sophie, a fellow American and stunning blonde, whose golden girl fa├žade hides a precarious emotional fragility. Sophie and Brooke soon become inseparable and find themselves intoxicated by their new surroundings—and each other.

But their lives are forever changed when they meet a sly, stylish French student, Veronique, and her impossibly sexy older cousin, Alex. The cousins draw Sophie and Brooke into an irresistible world of art, money, decadence, and ultimately, a disastrous love triangle that consumes them both. And of the two of them, only one will make it home.

What Did I Think About the Story?

I absolutely LOVE interacting with authors...they are my (not so) secret rock stars! Imagine my delight when Andrea Dunlop herself reached out to me to see if I would be interested in reading her book...squeee!!! It felt like the perfect book for summer and I was excited to read it as my last official "summer read" of the year. While not quite what I was expecting from the synopsis and quotes on the cover, it ended up being an immersive and interesting peek into what it's like as a study abroad student in a world with far less rules and restrictions then you are used to.

I love that the reader knows from the beginning that Brooke is the friend that "makes it home", leaving you to wonder what was going to happen to Sophie. When we meet Sophie she seems very one-dimensional - gorgeous, popular, smart - and I loved seeing her character deepen and become more complicated. She's not as perfect as everyone seems to think and this comes as a surprise to Brooke as much as the reader. On the flipside, Brooke is quite reckless when she first meets Sophie and seems to become more level-headed (with a few exceptions) as Sophie spins out of control. The two made an interesting dichotomy and I very much enjoyed trying to decipher the finer points of their friendship.

My favorite aspect of the story would have to be the time spent building this world of being a college student studying abroad. Learning about the lessons they take, seeing what it would be like to live with a family who doesn't speak your language, discovering the mysteries around each corner with the characters and feeling that first sense of true was almost like I was experiencing everything too! Andrea Dunlop really brought this world alive for me and I absolutely love when an author does that.

Now, my only real issues with Losing the Light might have more to do with my expectations of what the story was about then the actual story. The cover describes it as compulsive and even talks about their being a murder mystery so, in my mind, I assumed it would be fast past and something that I just couldn't put down. It actually ended up being more of a slow burn sort of novel for me, with the tension between characters building slowly and, even when that tension "breaks" it isn't done with a 'bam!" but more of a slow release. Also, unless I missed it somewhere, I'm not really sure where the murder mystery comes in. This is much more a character study and a coming of age look at love and heartbreak and growing into one's skin than a  mystery of any kind.

The above being said, I did enjoy reading Losing the Light very much. I was transported to France and saw the joys and drawbacks to the world spun between the pages. I would recommend the book to anyone who enjoys a well written story dealing with travel, youth, and loss of innocence.

What Did I Think About the Cover?

It is perfect for the story! Sun, sand, personifies a location in the story where the best part of Brooke's journey and the worst come together. Betrayal and heartache with this beauty as the backdrop makes it almost worse than if it happened somewhere else. Regardless, can't you picture this cover sticking out of your beach bag?

My Rating: 3.5/5.0

Thank you to author Andrea Dunlop and Atria Books for providing me with a free copy of Losing the Light in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. For more information on the book, including other reviews and links to where you can purchase your own copy, go to Goodreads HERE.

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