Palimpsest

Definition for Palimpsest:

  1. a parchment or the like from which writing has been partially or completely erased to make room for another text.
  2. something that has a new layer, aspect, or appearance that builds on its past and allows us to see or perceive parts of this past.

This word comes up many times in the story and it is a perfect word to use to describe what it is like to read this book.

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

Publication Date: October 6, 2020

Summary from NetGalley:

In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Life After Life, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab’s genre-defying tour de force.

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever—and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

ARC provided by MacMillan-Tor via NetGalley for an honest review.

Confession:

This is such a beautiful and poignant story that really spoke to me. The characters were amazing and the story was heartbreaking and yet so full of hope. I never wanted it to end, but of course it does.

Addie was such an incredible woman. So tough and stubborn, but kind and thoughtful too. She really goes through a lot in the 300 years that she roams the earth, but she never gives up, and she continues to try to make her mark. I am not sure I could have done what she did without going insane at some point. I really enjoyed hearing about her various adventures and mishaps as she struggled to understand her curse and how to survive. I loved watching her relationship with both Henry and the god/demon develop over the course of the book.

Henry is such a lost little soul, who I fell for the minute he was introduced to us. He really wants to understand his place in the world and goes through so much heartache before he meets Addie. He is just one of those characters that you feel needs a great big hug all of the time. It was great that we got to see some of the story through his point of view as well.

Luc, as Addie comes to call the god/demon, is also a really interesting character. He shows up through out the book to taunt Addie into giving up and surrendering her soul to him. They have quite the relationship that is constantly changing.

I have to put in a little plug for the best bookstore cat ever, Book. He was such a dear and I loved how he stalked Addie and would just show up in different places in the store lounging on a book shelf or looking like an “inconvenienced bread loaf”.

The story itself is told through little moments or vignettes in both Henry’s and Addie’s lives. The story goes back and forth through time, so do pay attention to the chapter headings to know what year you are in. I loved some of the little glimpses we got as Addie experiences history being made and how she influenced it. There is a bit of a story within the story which just made everything perfect. The ending is a little open ended which is something that usually annoys me, but for this book it was the only way it could end.

Overall this is a book that should become a must read for everyone. I think it is probably the best book I have read this year and it is one that I will reread and cherish for a very long time.

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