I recently had a chat with my favorite librarian on writing negative reviews. For me, these are the hardest to write. And, when I’ve been provided with an advanced reading copy, while I feel a responsibility to my readers there is a tinge of guilt for “looking a gift horse in the mouth.”
That said, I just did not love The Lovers.
Vindela Vida’s newest novel tells of two-year widow, Yvonne, who returns to Turkey, the site of her honeymoon with her husband many years before. She’s rented a home for her lodging that she discovers is the second home her landlord keeps for his mistress. Inside she finds provocative photos, books and toys – evidence of their passionate love affair. In addition, she develops a friendship with his wife, who comes to welcome her, but she quickly realizes is more interested in an entrée to her husband’s secret life.
The intent of Yvonne’s vacation of solitude seems to be to come to terms with her grief, the memory of her less than perfect marriage and the strained relationships with her children. While I think that there was a beautiful story to be told here, I didn’t feel like it was fully realized.
During her visit, Yvonne explores several ancient archeological sites – some she’s returning to after having visited with her husband. Each location comes with a unique danger and the overt symbolism fell short since the story of Yvonne’s wrestling with her past was incomplete.
The highlight of the story is the friendship that Yvonne develops with a young boy who sells shells on the beach where Yvonne goes to swim. He lacks the innocence she bestows on him, and when tragedy finds him, Yvonne is confronted with her own prejudices and incorrect assumptions.
I have read other reviews by folks who really enjoyed this one. This is a short read at just over 200 pages, so if it sounds intriguing, it won’t be a huge time investment if you end up feeling as I did. Otherwise, this may be one that is easy to pass up.
I was graciously provided an ARC by Ecco Marketing, An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers.
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