This is going to be one of those "too much information" thing but I feel like I need to say it in order for you, the future reader, to understand why this particular reader found this book wonderful.
Of course, set in parts of Canada that I will never visit, and part of New York that I can only dream of, this book, along with the 'will they/won't they' story line, this story is already wonderful. I love the humor, the wit, the charm of both Langston and Cecile. I could feel the energy emanating from the pages when they first met.
The thing that I will always gravitate to are stories with faith in its pages, and people that we may never relate to but they have the same testimonies and fears as us. I lost my virginity at 23 with my now husband. But this was three years before we got married. I know, TMI, right?? The thing is, I still remember vividly going home, crying over my Bible, and absolutely convinced that I'm going to hell. My roommate thought I was silly, and thankfully, I'm married to my 'one and only.' But that day feels like a blot in my entire existence. During my low anxiety filled moments, I often look back and think this is my punishment for premarital sin.
There are very few books that I've come across that I think, "aha, that's me!" I'm not a huntress. I'm not a seducer. I'm not even that nerdy for some hot guy to stumble into me. But aside from the immense musical talent, of which I do not possess one iota of, I saw myself in Cecile. (Also, I'm a total sloucher, and beauty is subjective no matter who you are, but this is less about physicality and more about people's motives, and personality). I could see the cracks in her Type A personality. I can remember the need to please God, but then remembering the pleasures of sex, and forgetting God just for a little bit.
I still remember accepting that my life, as it is, isn't a punishment from God.
I loved peering into Cecile's diary. I could see her naive faith grow and transform throughout the book.
I appreciate that Maria Corley took anxiety and guilt, and weave them in so slowly throughout the book. Society often depicts anxious depressed people in dark rooms, and clad in black. But, people with high functioning anxiety are always misunderstood as people pleasers, perfectionists, strong, emotionless, OCD...I could go on and on......
Ms. Corley, thank you, for this well written novel seemingly about two people doomed to be in the "star cross lovers" category. It was more than I thought it was. It was more than love. More than a book about faith, and music, and family. More than witnessing a broken soul.......it was about taking hold of all that we are: our faults, our sins, in being loved by God no matter what, and our anxieties, and trusting in our self, our place in the Universe,........and Letting go.
Take a bow, honey. This was a lovely read. *I received this book in exchange for a review. All thoughts, and opinions are my own.