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 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.