Synopsis: In a modern take on E. M. Forster’s A Room With a View, Love, Lucy follows Lucy Sommersworth’s first year post-high school graduation. The novel begins in Italy, where Lucy is wrapping up a summer trip to Europe. The trip is part of a deal made with her father: for an all expense-paid trip to Europe, Lucy will give up acting and singing to go to college and major in business. After a horrendous audition shakes Lucy’s self-confidence, she takes the deal. Once in Italy, though, she meets Jesse, a street performer who won’t let Lucy give up on the things she loves. Just as the two start into a relationship, Lucy must leave Europe and begin college. Back in America, without Jesse, she must decide who she truly is, who she truly loves, and what she’s willing to give up to have her dreams come true.
Review: I went into this book with mixed expectations. A Room With a View is one of my favorite novels, and so I was wary of Linder’s attempt to modernize it. However, I have also read her novel Jane, which was a wonderful retelling of Jane Eyre, and so my hopes were high. This novel started off strong, and I loved what she was doing to adapt and modernize the original story into her own. The first chapter gave me a lot of hope for the rest of the book, and for the adaptation as a whole, because it started off perfectly. The room with a view was acquired, the characters and their relationships were all set up to entice readers, and Lucy was a character I liked.
My high expectations quickly fell, though. Comparing it with Forster’s novel, I would have to say that Linder did a poor job of retelling it. There were many things I would have liked to have seen adapted differently. There were also many things from the original that she left out or changed. For example, Lucy in the original story does not acknowledge her feelings for “Jesse” (George) until much later into the novel. In Linder’s version, her feelings are acknowledged almost immediately. I also feel like Lucy as whole was a very different character in Linder’s hands. She is much more emotional and definitely more positive about what she wants in life, versus Forster’s Lucy, who, I feel, represses her hopes and desires for a majority of the novel. This may just be because Linder’s novel is from Lucy’s perspective, and so readers are more apt to seeing Lucy’s emotions than they are in the more objective original.
With that said, when not comparing this novel to A Room With a View, I really did enjoy it. Lucy was a character who I could root for. I wanted her to have her dreams and to get the guy and to see that she could do anything she set her mind to. I really enjoyed the relationship between Lucy and her parents, which was tense, but very realistic for many who pursue performing arts. The tone Linder creates is fun, but dramatic all at the same time. Dramatic in a good way, that is. I wasn’t sure which way she was going to go with the plot at times, like whether Lucy would sign up for the play or not, whether she and Jesse would actually end up together, or whether Lucy and her father would end up reconciling by the end of the novel. The suspense was enough to keep me reading.
There were a few things I didn’t like, such as Lucy’s suite-mates/friends. Some of them bothered me immensely. They were definitely secondary characters, but they weren’t secondary characters I cared about at all. I also didn’t care for the random conflict between Lucy and one of the other actresses. I thought this was a useless plot point that never really added anything to the story.
So, though I didn’t care for the novel as an adaptation and though there were some parts I could have done without, I really did enjoy reading it. It held its own, and I think Linder did a good job of using Forster’s story as spring board for the story she ended up telling. The characters were great, the plot moved fairly quickly, and the romance was both realistic and moving.
Also, cover shout out, because this cover makes me want to place it facing out on my bookshelf instead of sideways like all the rest of my books. It’s just such an adorable cover!
I would recommend this novel for anyone who loves A Room With a View, romance, or travel.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Cups of Tea
Your Pemberley Reader,