Review by unamilagra -- Looking Glass Friends by E L Neve

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Review by unamilagra -- Looking Glass Friends by E L Neve

Post by unamilagra » 17 Feb 2019, 17:15

[Following is a volunteer review of "Looking Glass Friends" by E L Neve.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Ellie is a woman in love with literature and philosophy. She is married to a wealthy man she admires but with whom she has nothing in common. She lives with all the comforts money can buy and spends her days with her young son. She has convinced herself that she is content with her life despite her lack of friendships or intimacy. Neil is a man who has always lived above and outside the community around him. He has never been able to find anyone or anything that challenges him intellectually, including his wife. His boredom and despair have brought him to the point of considering suicide.

One fateful day, Ellie happens into the bakery where Neil works to buy the cream puffs her son adores. Seeing her disappointment at finding them to be sold out, Neil gives her the stash he had set aside for himself. As a thank you, Ellie returns a few days later with a copy of her favorite book, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Ellie herself does not understand what compels her to buy the thousand page work for a complete stranger who will most likely not even read it. But the novel turns out to be the very thing that Neil needed. The two become pen pals, bonding over poetry and philosophy. Both discover in each other something they never knew they needed. Eventually through emails and letters, they realize they are soul mates, despite not even remembering what the other looks like. How will they reconcile their need for each other with their obligations to their families?

Looking Glass Friends: A Novel Inspired by Real Love Letters by E. L. Neve is so much more than just a love story. The book is full of quotes and philosophical questions inspired by writers and philosophers, such as Ayn Rand, T. S. Eliot, and Leonardo da Vinci. In addition to the theme of true love, the novel tackles the concepts of sacrifice, obligation, and self worth.

The novel takes place chronologically over the course of about three months, and the viewpoint alternates between the four major characters: Neil, Ellie, and each of their spouses. In addition, the reader gets to act as voyeur to the private emails and letters exchanged between the two soul mates.

I found the character development in this novel to be superb. Looking at events from each character’s point of view allows the reader to really understand their thoughts and motivations. Neve does a fantastic job of revealing each character’s personal values by the way they notice and describe the world around them. For example, Ellie’s husband is the only character who spends time describing the other characters’ physical attributes, and thus reveals his superficiality. Neil, on the other hand, almost never describes physical characteristics, instead focusing on intellectual and philosophical strengths and weaknesses. The reader gets acquainted with each character as an individual, and is able to understand the strengths and flaws of each. While I can’t say I grew to love any of the characters, I found that they are all realistic and relatable.

The imagery used in the book is good as well. Neve's writing style is beautiful and poetic, and it really drew me in. The author does a good job of setting the scene, and most of the descriptions of the setting seem intentional. She even goes so far as to have the Seattle winter weather mirror Neil’s emotions throughout the story. There are only a couple instances in which I found descriptions either unnecessary or too far out there for me to grasp their significance.

During the first half of the book, I felt that the pacing of the novel was good, with a nice balance of psychological development and physical events. About two thirds of the way through, I did find myself wishing that there was a bit less time spent on the characters processing their feelings, and a bit more action to move the book to a resolution. Although the book seems professionally edited, I found a handful of minor grammatical errors. Because of the slower pacing and errors, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I do feel that the themes and character development were great, and this novel has a lot to offer a reader.

If you are looking for an easy beach read romance, this is probably not the book for you. This is a deeper love story that really makes you think. If you like literature or philosophy, and especially if you are a fan of Ayn Rand, you will love Looking Glass Friends.

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Looking Glass Friends
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Firefawkes
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Post by Firefawkes » 19 Feb 2019, 14:20

Romance is a genre I tend to avoid, but you highlight this author's beautiful style in a way that makes me want to branch out! Thanks for the review :)

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Post by labibliofile » 19 Feb 2019, 14:45

Firefawkes wrote:
19 Feb 2019, 14:20
Romance is a genre I tend to avoid, but you highlight this author's beautiful style in a way that makes me want to branch out! Thanks for the review :)
I agree with Firefawkes, Romance is a genre that I tend to avoid as well, but this book and your review makes me want to read it! I love how you have highlighted clearly and precisely what you don't like about the book! It sounds realistic and enjoyable! Had it not been for the fact that they were both already married, this would've made for a "perfect" love story, but it's not, and that makes for an ever better book as it is something that is atypical and I am eager to know how everything is resolved!

Thank you for the great review!
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Post by BelleReadsNietzsche » 19 Feb 2019, 15:36

YOU DID IT! First published review, congrats! :)

I am picky with but not totally averse to romance novels. Character development is hugely important to me in such novels, and it sounds like this one’s got it! I also love characters who are a little “nerdy.”

Thanks for the review, I might check this one out if I can find a aay to squeeze it in!

Btw discussion of the month is on romance novels but is sadly very quiet....
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Post by Zora C Penter » 19 Feb 2019, 16:12

If I turn toward a romance, it is definitely for the "cozy beach read" kind. Thank you for the wonderful review. It has me tempted to venture into a genre I don't usually go for.

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Post by unamilagra » 20 Feb 2019, 14:39

labibliofile wrote:
19 Feb 2019, 14:45
Firefawkes wrote:
19 Feb 2019, 14:20
Romance is a genre I tend to avoid, but you highlight this author's beautiful style in a way that makes me want to branch out! Thanks for the review :)
I agree with Firefawkes, Romance is a genre that I tend to avoid as well, but this book and your review makes me want to read it! I love how you have highlighted clearly and precisely what you don't like about the book! It sounds realistic and enjoyable! Had it not been for the fact that they were both already married, this would've made for a "perfect" love story, but it's not, and that makes for an ever better book as it is something that is atypical and I am eager to know how everything is resolved!

Thank you for the great review!
Romance isn't generally my go-to genre either, but the description of this one was intriguing and I'm glad I decided to read it. It was one of those mixed feelings kind of books, since they were both already married, but I was satisfied with the ending. I hope you enjoy it if you decide to read it!

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Post by unamilagra » 20 Feb 2019, 14:41

BelleReadsNietzsche wrote:
19 Feb 2019, 15:36
YOU DID IT! First published review, congrats! :)

I am picky with but not totally averse to romance novels. Character development is hugely important to me in such novels, and it sounds like this one’s got it! I also love characters who are a little “nerdy.”

Thanks for the review, I might check this one out if I can find a aay to squeeze it in!

Btw discussion of the month is on romance novels but is sadly very quiet....
Thank you! Yes, the character development was what I liked most about this book. They were all so realistic because they all had their good points as well as their flaws.

Thanks for the heads up about the discussion of the month, I hadn't found that yet. I will head over there soon.

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Post by unamilagra » 20 Feb 2019, 14:42

Zora C Penter wrote:
19 Feb 2019, 16:12
If I turn toward a romance, it is definitely for the "cozy beach read" kind. Thank you for the wonderful review. It has me tempted to venture into a genre I don't usually go for.
Thanks for stopping by to read my review. Yes, I feel that this one took a little more "work" to get through than your average romance because of all the philosophical stuff, but I really enjoyed it.

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Post by teacherjh » 22 Feb 2019, 11:47

This sounds like a well-written book with great characters, but the whole idea of basically cheating on your spouse puts me off. Great review though.

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Post by shereads shereads » 22 Feb 2019, 14:42

This sounds like an interesting take on romance, with the complication that they are both married. I’m interested to know how it gets resolved. I love that there were varying perspectives and great character development!

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Post by Mbrooks2518 » 23 Feb 2019, 01:16

I don't usually read romance, especially ones that have a slower pace like this one seems to, so I'll pass.
Great review, though!

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Post by sarahmarlowe » 23 Feb 2019, 18:00

What a thorough and lovely review! It's too bad about the pacing and errors. It sounds like the author spun a good story.
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Post by unamilagra » 25 Feb 2019, 09:09

teacherjh wrote:
22 Feb 2019, 11:47
This sounds like a well-written book with great characters, but the whole idea of basically cheating on your spouse puts me off. Great review though.
Yes, it is quite a conundrum for them, especially since they are both committed to NOT cheating. Thanks for stopping by!

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Post by unamilagra » 25 Feb 2019, 09:11

shereads shereads wrote:
22 Feb 2019, 14:42
This sounds like an interesting take on romance, with the complication that they are both married. I’m interested to know how it gets resolved. I love that there were varying perspectives and great character development!
Thanks for commenting! Yes, I definitely couldn't wait to find out how the novel resolved, and I'm happy to say I found the ending satisfying.

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Post by unamilagra » 25 Feb 2019, 09:11

Mbrooks2518 wrote:
23 Feb 2019, 01:16
I don't usually read romance, especially ones that have a slower pace like this one seems to, so I'll pass.
Great review, though!
Thank you and thanks for stopping by!

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