What’s Ashley Reading?: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

First line: A girl is running for her life.

Summary: It’s 1714 in a small village in France. A young woman of twenty-three is being forced to marry but she does not want to be tied down. She wants to live and see the world. So she makes a bargain with one of the old gods. She promises her soul for the chance to live forever. But there is always a catch. No one will remember who she is.

For centuries she lives her life by stealing, lying and relying on “strangers.” Love has come and gone for Addie but nothing ever lasts when everyone she meets forgets her as soon as she is out of sight. Until one day she meets a young man who remembers her.

My Thoughts: At the beginning I was enthralled by the story and the idea of this book. How can a person live when no one knows who you are? While I was reading I kept thinking that things wouldn’t be hard to live like this until I remember that from one minute to the next every person becomes a stranger again. You could not have an apartment, a job, friends, or anything really. Sounds terribly lonely.

I liked being able to see Addie change and make her way through the turbulent 300 years from the beginning of her curse and meeting Henry. She learns very quickly how to get by on her wits and luck. But as I continued through the story I felt it getting a little repetitive. The author did throw in some twists to the story which helped liven up some of the slower parts.

But the ending was the best part of all. It was imaginative and perfect for this story. I won’t spoil it but I will say that I cannot think of a better way to end the story.

FYI: Language, death, curses.

Book Review: The Good People

The Good People by Hannah Kent

First Line: Nora’s first thought when they brought her the body was that it could not be her husband’s.

Summary: In a small village in Ireland in the early 1800s lived three women. Nora a recent widow, her maid, Mary and the local healer, Nance.  When bad luck starts to befall the village, the people look for someone to blame.  Is the healer responsible for the cows not giving milk?  Did the mysterious child living with the widow cause the death of his grandfather?  Or is it the fairies?  During a cold winter, suspicion and fear cause the people to turn on these women.

Highlights: Beautifully written!  I felt like I was living in the world.  I could feel the dirt, hear the screams, and smell the pipe smoke.  It is fascinating to read stories based on true events.  This one is filled with the folklore of the poor in rural Ireland.  The fact that people believed that a child who was sick or disabled was actually a changeling (a fairy) is astounding.  This book has to be read considering the context.  To modern day standards it seems ridiculous but to the people of the time it made complete sense.  Science was not as far advanced.  People were not taught to read.  Many never left their villages.  The whole time I was hoping for a happy ending even though knowing it will never happen.

Lowlights: The story started out slow as it was building to the main theme.  I kept wondering when the plot described in the summary was going to begin but when it did, I was pulled into this world.  I was very sad about the ending but also pleased with the outcome.

FYI: Read with an idea that these were not modern times.  This is a great lesson in how not that long ago we were burning witches and believing in fairies rather than science and facts.