Lucy By the Sea
Momma Leighellen's Book Review

“It is a gift in this life that we do not know what awaits us.”  – Lucy By the Sea

Oh what a special book.  I was sent Lucy By the Sea from @randomhouse back in September when it was first released.  I remember feeling hesitant to read it at first. Partly because of the topic – set during pandemic, I wasn’t quite sure I was ready to hear these stories again after going through so much with my own husband – and partially because I knew Elizabeth Strout would crush me.  

Stout’s writing has a conversational tone that just works with me.  It’s like sitting down with a friend for coffee who tells you the truth that no-one else wants to share.  She has a way of stripping deep seated hurts and baring them painfully, but also gently so they can begin to heal.

“Who knows why people are different? We are born with a certain nature, and then the world takes its swings at us.”

This story is classic Strout.  It follows a middle aged woman named Lucy, who leaves NYC before the pandemic outbreak and heads to a little cabin in Maine with her ex husband.  As the story unfolds, you learn of her children, her past, new friends she’s making and how the world is responding to the pandemic.  It’s tone is thoughtful and introspective.  Much of the story is Lucy wondering if she could have done anything differently – marriage, parenting, her career.  That balance of pining for something just out of reach, but also content enough to not want to do anything differently. 

Maybe it’s because my husband was so sick, maybe it’s because I’m in the middling years myself, but this one really struck a chord with me.  It is quiet in its beauty and simple in its form.  But the strength is in how deeply it makes you feel and how much I nodded along and cried along with Lucy.  We all have regrets and and doubt and struggle with how to move forward when life takes a turn.  Lucy reminds us that we are strong and capable, even in the ordinary moments. 

“We are all in lockdown, all the time. We just don’t know it, that’s all. But we do the best we can. Most of us are just trying to get through.”

You can pick up a copy of the book here.  To read more of my reviews, check out the rest of my blog.  To enter the latest giveaways and see what I’m currently reading, head to my Bookstagram account in IG.  And to listen to me chat all things bookish and share my latest reviews, head to my Booktube Channel. To try the book on audio go here!


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