Saturday, February 4, 2023

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

 Great book. I'm on a roll. 


Adeline "Addie" LaRue has a problem. She's being forced to marry. This is 1600s France, after all. So what does a 23-year old maiden do? Runs into the forest and sells her soul of course! 

Neighborhood witch Estelle, wiccan assuredly, teaches Adeline about nature, the old gods, and Adeline is warned: no matter what, do not pray for help after dark! So of course that's what she does. All she asks for is to be free, to be allowed to do what she wants.

That's what she gets, in spades. When she wakes in the forest the next day and returns home, no one remembers her. Her parents think she's a stranger, Estelle doesn't know her, no one in the village knows who she is. She's free!

Thus begins a 300-year (plus) journey. We see her in France, Germany, England, America, maybe even Spain (or was it Portugal?). Not only will she not die, but she can't forget anything. (Or tell the truth, like what her name is. Or draw anything, or write anything, everything she changes or does just disappears.) And still, no one remembers her. Except Luc, her personal devil. Need some new clothes? Go into the changing room, rip off the tags, throw your old clothes on the bench, wait a few minutes, and walk out. The sales staff won't remember you were even there. "Did you find what you need, ma'am?" "No, as always, nothing fits me as well as my own clothes." Then walk out. Happy birthday!

She does this with books, too. Why not? Got a book you want to read? Walk out with it. 

Except this one didn't work. The guy, attractive of course, follows her out of the store. When he sees it's a copy of The Odyssey, in Greek no less, he feels bad and just lets her have it. That's not the interesting part. The next day when Adeline returns she tries to return the book, to the same guy, and asks for credit for another book. He laughs at her; "maybe next time don't try and return it to the guy who gave it to you yesterday." 

He remembers!

Months of happiness follows. No longer does she wake up in bed with a man who doesn't remember the previous night. Or the previous weeks, for that matter. The stumbling, bumbling I'm sorry's, or th early morning sneak-outs. All that is over, for she found Henry and he's perfect. She can actually tell him what her name is. She enjoys hearing him say "Addie." She tells him her life story, and he writes it down. 

Except that he's also made a deal. Yep, with Luc. He wanted to be enough for everyone. And he is. He can tell. His friends, people he meets, they all get a glazed look in their eyes when they tell him he's wonderful, he's perfect. But not Addie. 

The ending, of course, is sad. Love ends, but not in a horrible way. But the lovers do not ride off into the sunset. Not Henry and Addie anyway. 

Spoilers end.

Very interesting premise and quite well done by the author. 

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