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  • Judith D Collins

Lucy By The Sea


By: Elizabeth Strout

ISBN: 978-0593446065

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 09/20/2022

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)

TOP BOOKS OF 2022 LIST

SEPT 2022 MUST-READ BOOKS LIST


From Pulitzer Prize-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Strout comes a poignant, pitch-perfect novel about a divorced couple stuck together during lockdown—and the love, loss, despair, and hope that animate us even as the world seems to be falling apart.


With her trademark spare, crystalline prose—a voice infused with “intimate, fragile, desperate humanness” (The Washington Post)—Elizabeth Strout turns her exquisitely tuned eye to the inner workings of the human heart, following the indomitable heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton through the early days of the pandemic.


As a panicked world goes into lockdown, Lucy Barton is uprooted from her life in Manhattan and bundled away to a small town in Maine by her ex-husband and on-again, off-again friend, William. For the next several months, it’s just Lucy, William, and their complex past together in a little house nestled against the moody, swirling sea.


Rich with empathy and emotion, Lucy by the Sea vividly captures the fear and struggles that come with isolation, as well as the hope, peace, and possibilities that those long, quiet days can inspire. At the heart of this story are the deep human connections that unite us even when we’re apart—the pain of a beloved daughter’s suffering, the emptiness that comes from the death of a loved one, the promise of a new friendship, and the comfort of an old, enduring love.


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A POIGNANT, PITCH-PERFECT NOVEL ABOUT A DIVORCED COUPLE STUCK TOGETHER DURING LOCKDOWN — AND THE LOVE, LOSS, DESPAIR, AND HOPE THAT ANIMATE US EVEN AS THE WORLD SEEMS TO BE FALLING APART.


#LucyByTheSea



Elizabeth Strout turns her exquisitely tuned eye to the inner workings of the human heart, following the indomitable heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton through the early days of the pandemic.


As a panicked world goes into lockdown, Lucy Barton is uprooted from her life in Manhattan and bundled away to a small town in Maine by her ex-husband and on-again, off-again friend, William. For the next several months, it’s just Lucy, William, and their complex past together in a little house nestled against the moody, swirling sea.



My Review


"Meditative. Reflective. Soulful."


Elizabeth Strout returns following Oh William! with her latest LUCY BY THE SEA, (Amgash #4), featuring her complex character, Lucy Barton. A divorced couple escapes to Maine during the lockdown pandemic while the world falls apart and experiences a new kind of "normal" with renewed hope for the future amidst troubling times.


Lucy married her husband, William, and they divorced and remarried. They have two grown daughters, Chrissy and Becca. William is now divorced and has a younger child with his second wife.


Lucy remarried David, which is now deceased. It is COVID, and the world is crazy, including New York. William encourages Lucy to join him in Maine at a small house on the coast.


Lucy suffers from asthma, and she cannot risk getting the coronavirus. It is now in Europe and making its way to the US. William also encourages the two daughters to join them. Chrissy and her husband leave New York, but Becka and her husband do not.


The author takes us on a journey of frightful and uncertain times as they two get re-acquainted with their new home and surroundings while remaining safe and distant from others in these challenging times.


We learn more about Lucy's daughters, their relationship with their parents, and their spouses. Lucy is still grieving from her second husband and always thinking of her past and childhood memories which are not so pleasant.


Lucy surrounds herself with new friends and some old ones and comes to count on William and their new relationship. William had secrets in the past, and of course, she worries as well as the daughters about the future.


Lucy and William have a complicated past, but they seem to be able to move beyond their past difficulties.


The author explores many emotions- isolation, anxiety, fear, panic, grief, uncertainty, loss, and love—all part of the pandemic.


As always, I adore Strout's writing style as she openly shares what is going on inside Lucy's head from one scene and moment to another. She is complex and struggles with her past, her childhood, and the present, even though she is a successful author with a loving family.


While some of Strout’s characters from her previous novels are referenced in this story, we also meet a few familiar characters.


"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."


If you want to read a pandemic novel, Elizabeth Strout would be the author to read. Insightful, thought-provoking, introspective, and relatable, a beautifully written story of second chances and the importance of family, friends, survival, and our well-being.


Highly recommend all of Strout's books. LUCY BY THE SEA could be read as a standalone; however, I recommend reading the previous books in the Amgash series to get to know the honest Lucy.


A special thank you to #RandomHouse and #NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.



@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 Stars

Pub Date: Sep 20, 2022

Sept 2022 Must-Read Books






Praise for Elizabeth Strout


“One proof of Elizabeth Strout’s greatness is the sleight of hand with which she injects sneaky subterranean power into seemingly transparent prose. Strout works in the realm of everyday speech, conjuring repetitions, gaps and awkwardness with plain language and forthright diction, yet at the same time unleashing a tidal urgency that seems to come out of nowhere even as it operates in plain sight.”

—The New York Times Book Review


“Strout’s prose propels the story forward with moments of startlingly poetic clarity.”

—The New Yorker


“Strout managed to make me love this strange woman I’d never met, who I knew nothing about. What a terrific writer she is.”

—Zadie Smith


“Strout animates the ordinary with an astonishing force. . . . [She] makes us experience not only the terrors of change but also the terrifying hope that change can bring: she plunges us into these churning waters and we come up gasping for air.”

—The New Yorker


“Elizabeth Strout is one of my very favorite writers. The depth, complexity, and love contained in these pages are a miraculous achievement.”

—Ann Patchett








“Writing of this quality comes from a commitment to listening, from a perfect attunement to the human condition, from an attention to reality so exact that it goes beyond a skill and becomes a virtue.”

—Hilary Mantel


“Strout’s simple declarative sentences contain continents. Who is better at conveying loneliness, the inability to communicate, to say the deep important things? Who better to illustrate the legacies of imperfect upbringings, of inadequate parents?”

—The Boston Globe


“Strout is a brilliant chronicler of the ambiguity and delicacy of the human condition”

—The Guardian


“Being privy to the innermost thoughts of Lucy Barton—and, more to the point, deep inside a book by Strout—makes readers feel safe. We know we're in good hands.”

—NPR




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About the Author



Elizabeth Strout was born in Portland, Maine, and grew up in small towns in Maine and New Hampshire. From a young age she was drawn to writing things down, keeping notebooks that recorded the quotidian details of her days. She was also drawn to books, and spent hours of her youth in the local library lingering among the stacks of fiction. During the summer months of her childhood she played outdoors, either with her brother, or, more often, alone, and this is where she developed her deep and abiding love of the physical world: the seaweed covered rocks along the coast of Maine, and the woods of New Hampshire with its hidden wildflowers.


During her adolescent years, Strout continued writing avidly, having conceived of herself as a writer from early on. She read biographies of writers, and was already studying – on her own – the way American writers, in particular, told their stories. Poetry was something she read and memorized; by the age of sixteen was sending out stories to magazines. Her first story was published when she was twenty-six.

Strout attended Bates College, graduating with a degree in English in 1977. Two years later, she went to Syracuse University College of Law, where she received a law degree along with a Certificate in Gerontology. She worked briefly for Legal Services, before moving to New York City, where she became an adjunct in the English Department of Borough of Manhattan Community College. By this time she was publishing more stories in literary magazines and Redbook and Seventeen. Juggling the needs that came with raising a family and her teaching schedule, she found a few hours each day to work on her writing. WEBSITE


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