Official Review: Looking Glass Friends by E L Neve

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strawberrysab
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Official Review: Looking Glass Friends by E L Neve

Post by strawberrysab » 12 Aug 2018, 13:50

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Looking Glass Friends" by E L Neve.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Looking Glass Friends: A Novel Inspired by Real Love Letters by E.L. Neve is much more than just a novel. It’s a dreamy weave of romance, poetry and philosophy, all at once.

It’s 1997. It is the era of missives, emails and printed books, where mobile phones are still a thing for rich people.

Neil is married to Fay but unhappy with his life choices to the point of considering suicide. Ellie is married to Jake, mother to a five year old and lives the high life.

On a day like any other, Ellie walks into the local bakery to buy cream puffs for her son. On a day like any other, Neil decides that the client on the other side of the counter is worth giving up the secret stash of cream puffs he had set aside for himself. As a way to say thank you, Ellie gifts the kind baker with a copy of her favorite book, “Atlas Shrugged”.

For those who don’t know it, “Atlas Shrugged” is a 1957 dystopian novel by Ayn Rand, whose main topic is the role of man's mind in existence. It includes elements of science fiction, mystery, and romance while dripping with philosophical themes. I have to thank E.L. Neve for introducing me to this true masterpiece that I am reading right now.

While Neil devours the book, we see him take conscience of a new, completely different vision of his flat life, which will force him to face issues till then hushed. What are you supposed to sacrifice in life? Happiness for love? Love for happiness? And the happiness of whom? Yours? Or you just do not want to wound those who love you, hence justifying your sacrifice? Are you really supposed to sacrifice something to begin with? In a tight, real-life inspired epistolary exchange, Neil and Ellie will soon find themselves completely dependent on each other, waiting for the next email like breathing air, realizing that on the other end of their eye-opening words there is someone who can fully understand them, someone who can challenge their insatiable mind. Someone who is their looking glass.

And that’s when things get complicated. Both married, both trapped in a life that doesn’t seem to make them entirely happy, can you really separate friendship from love, mind from body, soul from carnality?

I have to say I am very hard to please when it comes to writing style and it is such a rarity for me to find a book that is both fascinating and extremely well written. Neve’s writing is pure poetry, a piece of art inside another piece of art. The back and forth between Neil and Ellie’s letters, their lives, the always spot on quotes from “Atlas Shrugged”, make Looking Glass Friends one of the best readings I’ve come across in a long while.

As for the editing, I barely found a single mistake in the whole book.

It is safe to say that Looking Glass Friends deserves all the 4 out of 4 stars I am awarding it with, while recommending it to anyone who wants to read a romance worthy of that name.

To end with an outstanding quote from "Atlas Shrugged", 'It contained her pride in herself and that it should be she whom he had chosen as his mirror, that it should be her body which was now giving him the sum of his existence, as his body was giving her the sum of hers.'

******
Looking Glass Friends
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Post by cindyr2416 » 14 Aug 2018, 08:16

I love a little romance with the suspense added. It might be that one little gesture that changes someone’s life and in this case two. I’m interested to see how this all plays out since they are both married. I also am interested in “Atlas Shrugged” now also.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 14 Aug 2018, 10:49

For some reason I have a particular fondness for books that include letters or diary entries. I find myself at a tug of war with my emotions wanting people to go be with someone who seems to be more suited for them than their spouse, or standing by their marriage vows. I think I would like this book thought despite facing that emotional dilemma. Nice review.

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Post by strawberrysab » 14 Aug 2018, 15:23

kfwilson6 wrote: ↑
14 Aug 2018, 10:49
For some reason I have a particular fondness for books that include letters or diary entries. I find myself at a tug of war with my emotions wanting people to go be with someone who seems to be more suited for them than their spouse, or standing by their marriage vows. I think I would like this book thought despite facing that emotional dilemma. Nice review.
Everything you said is what will make you love this book like I did. This book is challenging, both emotionally and psychologically. No matter whether one roots for Ellie and Neil to be together or not.
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Post by strawberrysab » 14 Aug 2018, 15:26

cindyr2416 wrote: ↑
14 Aug 2018, 08:16
I love a little romance with the suspense added. It might be that one little gesture that changes someone’s life and in this case two. I’m interested to see how this all plays out since they are both married. I also am interested in “Atlas Shrugged” now also.
I didn’t address or hint anything about the fact their married for that specific reason, I don’t want to spoil the developments. As for “Atlas Shrugged”, it has to be one of the longest tomes I’ve read in my entire life :D but it’s one of those books that give a lot of food for thought.
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Post by AmySmiles » 15 Aug 2018, 11:45

Thanks to your review, I have just now added two books to my reading list...
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Post by Cecilia_L » 15 Aug 2018, 21:24

I love the title of this book, and your review further piqued my interest. Excellent review!

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Post by strawberrysab » 16 Aug 2018, 14:17

AmySmiles wrote: ↑
15 Aug 2018, 11:45
Thanks to your review, I have just now added two books to my reading list...
Haha! I want to say I'm sorry but I'm not XD
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Post by strawberrysab » 16 Aug 2018, 14:17

Cecilia_L wrote: ↑
15 Aug 2018, 21:24
I love the title of this book, and your review further piqued my interest. Excellent review!
Thanks and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!
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Post by Amy+++ » 19 Aug 2018, 18:06

I love the quote at the end of your review. It summed the review up perfectly.

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Post by strawberrysab » 24 Aug 2018, 08:07

Amy+++ wrote: ↑
19 Aug 2018, 18:06
I love the quote at the end of your review. It summed the review up perfectly.
Thank you Amy! I, too, think that the quote is a perfect sum up of the review and a wonderful tie between the two books.
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Post by Sarah Tariq » 05 Sep 2018, 09:55

Sounds interesting romance novel with a bite of suspence and historical literary traces. Thanks for this critical review.
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Post by Oulababe » 14 Sep 2018, 06:19

I don't know much about looking glasses but I relate to the questions about love and sacrifice raised by the dystopia book.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 23 Oct 2018, 09:02

strawberrysab wrote: ↑
14 Aug 2018, 15:23
kfwilson6 wrote: ↑
14 Aug 2018, 10:49
For some reason I have a particular fondness for books that include letters or diary entries. I find myself at a tug of war with my emotions wanting people to go be with someone who seems to be more suited for them than their spouse, or standing by their marriage vows. I think I would like this book thought despite facing that emotional dilemma. Nice review.
Everything you said is what will make you love this book like I did. This book is challenging, both emotionally and psychologically. No matter whether one roots for Ellie and Neil to be together or not.
I ended up reading this book as a result of your review. After reading it, I can say you did a great job of highlighting the themes and issues the characters faced. You really have to go into this one without being bothered that Neil and Ellie are both married. Personally, I didn't like any of the characters. I thought they were all pretty self-involved, and there were some things about Ellie and Neil's relationship that was just a little off to me. However, the author's writing style is very enjoyable. I think people who enjoy soap operas, but maybe on a more intellectual level, would like this book.

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