*Published October 6, 2020*
Okay, the very first page of this book is what grabbed my attention at the bookstore when I was just browsing around. I didn’t buy it, because I’m trying to do better about how many books I buy and DON’T read. I did request from my library though and I’m glad to say that I requested through my library.
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.
*headdesk* Okay, before anyone tries to convince me otherwise, I didn’t love this book like I was expecting to in the beginning. The beginning of this story had SO. MUCH. POTENTIAL! I’m honestly not sure what really went wrong. I have some ideas, which I will be sharing with you all today, but I’m not the author. I can’t tell you what they wanted to happen, only that it didn’t happen for me.
Addie LaRue grows up in a tiny village in France in the 1700s. She is being forced to marry, to follow in the identical footsteps of her mother, her friend, and just about every other woman around her and she is terrified. Rightly so, in my opinion, so she does what the old unmarried woman tells her, and that is to pray to the gods around you. Just don’t pray to the gods that answer after dark. Unfortunately for her, on her wedding day, moments before the ceremony, she runs to the woods and start to pray to the gods around her one last time. Only this time, she is answered…after dark. What starts as a fight to keep her life, ends with Addie making a deal that her life be bound to no one.
Fast forward 300 years, and nothing has really changed for Addie. She has lived in France, lived in Italy, and is now in the United States. Her country has gone to war several times, and there are been two world wars in her 300 years. She has learned how to steal and pickpocket. She has learned that while this may not be exactly what she asked for, she has learned to somewhat enjoy it. She has inspired art pieces over the years, and she has left her mark. Would you think that would really change a person, right? Wrong!
Addie LaRue hasn’t changed emotionally or mentally much in the 300 years of her life, other than to learn the skills she needs to keep herself fed and sheltered. And when someone forgets you the moment you leave their line of sight, that can be hard to do. But there was so much more that this premise could have shown us! What it does show us is very interesting, that any photos taken of Addie do not come out as intended, that her “curse” to be forgotten and beholden to none means that she cannot be recorded in anyway, nor can she write down her own stories of her life. But, if she can implant a seed in someone else’s mind, the mind of an artist, she can leave a mark in some small way.
I do like that part of the premise, that art has the ability to transcend time and an idea can be planted and grow and become something more than the person who first planted it. It feels a bit like the movie Inception where you can plant the seed of an idea into someone’s subconscious and it will manifest in their life eventually. I do wish we could have seen more of Addie’s life of 300 years that DIDN’T focus on her trying to get revenge on Luc. That took up too much story that could have been used to explore where Addie traveled. And I do wish she would have traveled to more places before photo ID became a thing and she essentially became stuck in one place. We, and her, could have seen more of the world and known more joy about finding and exploring new things. But nope. France, teeny, tiny part of Italy. And the whitest place in the US, New York City. All well.
I do know that a lot of people love this book, and I’m so glad you do! What I would like to hear from you guys today is why do you like this book so much? What makes you give it all 5 starts? Comment below and let me know what you think!