The Idea Of Love – Patti Callahan Henry

The Idea of LoveTitle: The Idea Of Love
Author: Patti Callahan Henry
Published: St. Martin’s Press, June 2015
Source: received a copy from publisher
Links: [goodreads][][the book depository]

As we like to say in the south: “Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.”

Ella’s life has been completely upended. She’s young, beautiful, and deeply in love—until her husband dies in a tragic sailing accident while trying save her. Or so she’ll have everyone believe.

Screenwriter Hunter needs a hit, but crippling writers’ block and a serious lack of motivation are getting him nowhere. He’s on the look-out for a love story. It doesn’t matter who it belongs to.

When Hunter and Ella meet in Watersend, South Carolina it feels like the perfect match, something close to fate. In Ella, Hunter finds the perfect love story, full of longing and sacrifice. It’s the stuff of epic films. In Hunter, Ella finds possibility. It’s an opportunity to live out a fantasy – the life she wishes she had because hers is too painful. And more real. Besides. what’s a little white lie between strangers?

But one lie leads to another, and soon Hunter and Ella find themselves caught in a web of deceit. As they try to untangle their lies and reclaim their own lives, they feel something stronger is keeping them together. And so they wonder: can two people come together for all the wrong reasons and still make it right?

The Idea of Love  starts out with Hunter wandering in the Southern East Coast, hoping to find a good love story that may “cure” his writer’s block.  When he sees Ella, a sad woman sitting at a café table, he believes he’s found his inspiration.  But will he be able to pry into her personal life without making her become suspicious of his selfish agenda?

To be honest, I didn’t know at first if I’d like a story with the protagonists lying to one another.  But as I got to know Hunter and Ella, I began to understand why they’re doing what they do.  You may say telling lies is just plain wrong, but let’s be real for a moment, can you uprightly say you’ve never told a lie in your entire life?  In a world where deceit and dishonesty are not uncommon, I have to say I appreciate how this story is told.  We all have conscience and I admire the way the characters evolve when they can no longer live with the lies that they share.

What intrigued me the most is how the characters talk about the idea of love.  In the story, Ella believes she’s being ruined by love.  But in truth, she hasn’t been brave enough to love because of her idea of love.  Hunter sees the idea of love as his ticket to fame and fortune.  But ironically, his life is a reflection of his neglect and ignorance of love.  Both Ella and Hunter are no fools but until the moment their illusion of love is shattered, they struggle to find their true place at work and in life.

From the book blurb, it may sound like the story is heavily focused on the romance between the protagonists, but after reading the book, I can honestly share that while there is romance, it’s not the mere focus of the story.  Ella is pretty talented in my opinion and I love how she expresses her artistic way on paper, in home decoration and at work.  As for Hunter, while his relationship with his family may seem like an eyesore, I like that he genuinely wants to change and become a better member of the family.  And when he gains clarity about his life direction, I like that he applies the insights that he gathers from Ella and mends his relationship with his family.

I also love the aspect of friendship in the story.  Mimi is a new friend of Ella but I think she’s truly the best friend that anyone could hope to have.  She’s funny, caring, wise and helpful, and I love that she knows herself well enough that she doesn’t need the approval of another person to lift her up and make her feel she’s worthy.  Unlike Ella’s long-time friend Amber who constantly needs to be the center of attention, Mimi, by contrast, is wonderfully kind and thoughtful.

As you can tell, I fell in love with The Idea of Love.  😉

I wholeheartedly recommend the story and I hope you’ll like it as much as I did.



About the Author

Patti Callahan HenryFollow Patti:

website | facebook | twitter | goodreads

Patti Callahan Henry is the National Bestselling author of six novels with Penguin/NAL (Losing the Moon, Where the River Runs, When Light Breaks, Betweeen the Tides, The Art of Keeping Secrets, and Driftwood Summer).

Patti is hailed as a fresh new voice in southern fiction. She has been short-listed for the Townsend Prize for Fiction and has been nominated for the Southeastern Independent Booksellers Fiction Novel of the Year. She is a frequent speaker at luncheons, book clubs and women’s groups where she discusses the importance of storytelling and anything else they want to talk about.

Patti grew up as a Minister’s daughter, learning early how storytelling effects our lives. She grew up spending her summers on Cape Cod where she began her love affair with the beach, ocean, tides and nature of the coast. Moving south at the tender age of twelve, she found solace in books and stories. While attending Auburn University, she met a southern boy who later proposed on Daufuskie Island, South Carolina, next to a historic lighthouse overlooking the Sound. After earning her Master’s degree in Child Health, Patti worked as a Clinical Nurse Specialist until her first child was born.

Patti is a full time writer, wife and mother living with her husband and three children outside Atlanta on the Chattahoochee River where she is working on her next novel.


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Love And Miss Communication – Elyssa Friedland

Love and Miss CommunicationTitle: Love And Miss Communication
Author: Elyssa Friedand
Published: William Morrow & Company, May 2015
Source: received a copy from publisher
Links: [goodreads][]

This unforgettable debut novel asks us to look up from our screens and out at the world…and to imagine what life would be like with no searches, no status updates, no texts, no Tweets, no pins, and no posts.

Evie Rosen has had enough. She’s tired of the partners at her law firm e-mailing her at all hours of the night. The thought of another online date makes her break out in a cold sweat. She’s over the clever hashtags and the endless selfies. So when her career hits a surprising roadblock and her heart is crushed by Facebook, Evie decides it’s time to put down her smartphone for good. (Beats stowing it in her underwear–she’s done that too!)

And that’s when she discovers a fresh start for real conversations, fewer distractions, and living in the moment, even if the moments are heartbreakingly difficult. Babies are born; marriages teeter; friendships are tested. Evie just may find love and a new direction when she least expects it, but she also learns that just because you unplug your phone doesn’t mean you can unplug from life.

Featured on InStyle Magazine as one of their 6 New Page-Turners to Read in May, Love and Miss Communication  shares the story of Evie Rosen, an ambitious woman whose life is about to turn upside down because of her online habit.  Can she get her life back in order before her savings run out?

I find it touching (and surprisingly refreshing) to read a story about a protagonist who chooses to stop using the internet.  With friends who depend on texting and emailing to stay in touch, Evie certainly misses quite a few parties and important updates during the time when she unplugs.  At the same time, not googling gives her a new sense of freedom and power.  Instead of shopping online, she has to go out and acquire what she needs in-person.  Instead of using Facebook to look up people online, she has to live in the moment and get to know new acquaintances through real conversations.   Honestly, I am not a fan of Evie before she unplugs from the internet.  I find her old self a bit on the freakish side.  And while her character doesn’t exactly mature in a direction that I prefer, I appreciate her effort and courage to go inward and face her inner demons.

What I find the most enjoyable is the bond Evie has with her grandmother.  Her grandmother is wise, strong and adorably funny. And she just cracks me up every time when she points at or touches the ring on her finger!

The romance in the story is very heartwarming.  I don’t want to drop names and spoil anything, but this amazingly gorgeous guy surely deserves some rounds of applause!  I particularly love the scene when he sweetly proposes to Evie.

Can you imagine yourself not using the internet?  Although I don’t think I’ll unplug from the world wide web any time soon, I like that Love and Miss Communication  offers us some food-for-thoughts on the weird and negative effect of social media.  And while you’re online, look up Friedland’s 10 Ways The Internet Is Ruining Your Love Life, Because Cyberstalking Exes Solves Nothing.  I think you’ll like it.


About the Author

elyssa-friedlandFollow Elyssa:

website | facebook | twitter | goodreads

Elyssa Friedland attended Yale University, where she served as managing editor of the Yale Daily News. She is a graduate of Columbia Law School and subsequently worked as an associate at a major firm. Prior to law school, Elyssa wrote for several publications, including Modern Bride, New York magazine, Columbia Journalism Review, CBS, Yale Alumni Magazine, and Your Prom. She grew up in New Jersey and currently lives in New York City with her husband and young children.


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Things We Know By Heart – Jessi Kirby

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