Book Reviews

Lovely, Dark & Deep by Amy McNamara – Book Review


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Yesterday I both started and finished this novel. It was so good, I literally read it in almost one sitting. I took this book with me everywhere I went! For those of you who haven’t had a chance to check this book out, I’ll provide the Goodreads description below:

A resonant debut novel about retreating from the world after losing everything—and the connections that force you to rejoin it.

Since the night of the crash, Wren Wells has been running away. Though she lived through the accident that killed her boyfriend Patrick, the girl she used to be didn’t survive. Instead of heading off to college as planned, Wren retreats to her father’s studio in the far-north woods of Maine. Somewhere she can be alone.

Then she meets Cal Owen. Dealing with his own troubles, Cal’s hiding out too. When the chemistry between them threatens to pull Wren from her hard-won isolation, Wren has to choose: risk opening her broken heart to the world again, or join the ghosts who haunt her.

     This was a really powerful story, and after I finished reading it, I found myself wanting to read more. There were so many beautiful quotes throughout the book that I made note of! The writing style was so poetic, and beautiful, and you could really feel the guilt and the pain that the main character, Wren felt. This isn’t exactly a love story, it’s more about two people dealing with hard situations and retreating to a place they can enjoy the quietness and solitude that they need to be able to eventually move on. Both Cal and Wren are broken people, because of their own life circumstances, and they come together to build each other up during a really difficult time. This novel’s main theme is in regards to death and illness, and grief. I enjoyed the way the author let the reader inside Wren’s mind, as this made her more relatable and understandable. 

   The book brings into question, if it’s “okay” to become reclusive for awhile after a traumatic event, even though there’s relationships to maintain, and life to live, and ultimately responsibilities to carry out. Wren finds herself putting a pause on going to college, and she loses a lot of her close friends in her time of mourning, and she is judged by many. Wren experiences survivor’s guilt, and the novel highlights the idea that everyone grieves in their own time, and in their own way, and though we may want to push people away, sometimes others can help build us up, and that’s what Cal and Wren did for each other. Cal and Wren had to become selfless in order to care for each other. Instead of focusing and living in her past, Wren had to be there to help and support Cal who suffered from a debilitating illness in the present, and Cal had to put his physical ailments aside to be an emotional support for Wren.

Overall, this book wasn’t a happy “feel good” book. It was as the title describes, dark and deep. On more than one occasion I found myself getting pretty emotional over this novel, but that’s only because the author did such an amazing job of capturing the feelings of the characters. Some people struggle to explain how they feel during these times, and the main character Wren even went silent for quite a long time, because she just couldn’t put her feelings into words, however the author does that for her in a beautiful way. 

I give this book 4.5/5 stars!

Some of my Favourite Quotes from the Novel:

“So this is life. Love. We spend all this time reaching for each other and mostly we end up hurting each other until it’s over.”

“It’s too much to be trusted with someone else’s heart. I don’t think it ever ends well.”

“I’m starting to feel a little like I might fly away. Like everyone else has solid lives, and I’m just a particle, passing through.”

“Too many people are expecting me to do things. I don’t want to meet anyone’s expectations. Be expected. I just want to-be. No explanations necessary. Me. Quiet. Anything more is too risky.”

“You’re the only air I can stand to breathe.”

“I came here because it’s pine-dark and the ocean is wild. The kind of quiet-noise you need when there’s too much going on in your head. Like the water and the woods are doing all the feeling, and I can hang out, quiet as a headstone, in a between place. A blank I can bear.”


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