Rating: 5 Cups of Coffee
A smart, obsessive debut novel about a young woman studying abroad who becomes caught up in a seductive French world—and a complex web of love and lust.
When thirty-year-old Brooke Thompson unexpectedly runs into a man from her past, she’s plunged headlong into memories she’s long tried to forget about the year she spent in France following a disastrous affair with a professor.
As a newly arrived exchange student in the picturesque city of Nantes, young Brooke develops a deep and complicated friendship with Sophie, a fellow American and stunning blonde, whose golden girl façade hides a precarious emotional fragility. Sophie and Brooke soon become inseparable and find themselves intoxicated by their new surroundings—and each other.
But their lives are forever changed when they meet a sly, stylish French student, Veronique, and her impossibly sexy older cousin, Alex. The cousins draw Sophie and Brooke into an irresistible world of art, money, decadence, and ultimately, a disastrous love triangle that consumes them both. And of the two of them, only one will make it home.
I’m currently drinking merlot and listening to La Vie Rose as I write this review because it only seems fitting. If I could be sitting in Nantes, France, I’d be there in a hot second but this is as French as I can get under the circumstances.
This book was the perfect dose of dreamy and whimsical, carefully tinged with sorrow and heartbreak. It was about the possibility of everything – the feeling before the storm, and I loved every second of it.
Brooke is the kind of girl who blends so seamlessly into a crowd; she knows how to get away with things just because she can. Who’s to stop a girl from having an affair with her professor when it’s just so easy to get lost in?
“You have to savor the moment, the day you are in. You cannot think about where you will soon be or you might as well already be there instead of here.”
When things get messy and she’s suddenly seated on a plane to France for a semester abroad, she realizes just how lucky she is to have this kind of opportunity. Brooke pairs up with Sophie, the iridescent and striking classmate who is also spending the semester abroad, and the two become inseparable. They form a bond that, to some, seems unbreakable, a best friendship that is stronger than any other relationship they’ve had because they are Sophie and Brooke, each halves that make up a whole.
“I began to understand what I found so seductive about Sophie: the possibility of seeing the world as she saw it, as an alternate universe where life was, above all else, an adventure.”
Enter Alex de Persaud, the mysterious and intriguing French man who will make their lives a living dream. Brooke falls helplessly for Alex’s charm and wit – he is everything that she wants and needs. He is the antidote to the fever she can’t seem to shake; she is in love. But love isn’t ever simple, especially when Brooke isn’t just Brooke without Sophie.
“You have to learn to live in the moment, chérie, or you are not even really living at all. Don’t you know that?”
Cue the sound of more wine being poured – this story will leave you crying over the tragic reality of love and the immense toll a toxic relationship can take on a person. An extraordinary debut from a writer whom I can now consider one of my favorites in this genre. I'm beyond excited to read whatever Andrea Dunlop writes next because it is sure to be a new favorite of mine.
“Maybe when we're older, we’ll understand how to have something and love it all at the same time.”
About the Author
Andrea Dunlop lives in her hometown of Seattle, Washington, where she works as the social media and marketing director of Girl Friday Productions. Losing the Light is her first novel.