Sunday, March 18, 2018

Looking Glass Friends

Neve, E.L. (2017). Looking Glass Friends. 

Adult / Literary Fiction / Romance


About the Book: CAN OUR SOULS FALL IN LOVE...BEFORE OUR BODIES MEET? They fell in love over email, discussing Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged. Neither remembered the other’s face clearly. Both were married already. And she had a five-year-old son. But in the span of a few letters each discovered his soul's mirror image. So how could they live apart? Woven with poetry and philosophy this is a story about the nature of love, its enchantment or curse, and the heartbreaking question: Can a mother secure her child’s happiness by sacrificing hers?

HALL WAYS REVIEW: Audio Book Review. Listening to Looking Glass Friends by E.L. Neve was a dreamy experience. The narration, performed by the author was delightful; her voice is ethereal and makes the reader feel transported into the romance and escape of main character Faye’s newly found relationship.  The voicing of characters doesn’t dramatically change from character to character, though as the story progresses, listeners may notice some subtle changes: Jake gets smarmier, Johnny sounds young. Annabella, one of my favorite characters, is the exception and has a definitive southern accent that is well-done.

“She had known that she was glazing a lie with a tint of half-truth.”

It is interesting that readers can hear/see what each of characters Neil and Ellie are thinking on opposite sides of the computer while they are emailing each other. (Yes, emailing! Not texting, not IMing, not SnapChatting. It is 1997, folks, and I love it there.) Listening to the story had me remembering when I met my husband, and the excitement of seeing an email from him in my inbox, the constant thinking and re-thinking of our last exchanges, and how I printed the emails so I could re-visit them without using the dial-up modem. (Ha! I am old!) Ellie speaks of the “soul-lifting emails” from another person who was so much like her. I could relate. Perhaps it is also my own experience of a different time, in my life before I met my husband, that makes me struggle a little. Even though I was pulling for Neil and Ellie, to me, their emotional involvement counts as infidelity because each is giving something to the other that isn’t being given to their respective spouses. It is complicated, and they each feel pangs of guilt and know they are wrong, but they convince themselves that keeping their relationship to email is okay; one even says, “Their effect on each other's spirit was too great to allow their bodies to meet.” They know they are playing with fire – which makes it all the more delicious.

“The winds of change were steering the heavy branch.

Author E.L. Neve’s writing is philosophical, lovely, and descriptive and perfectly sets the moods – at times melancholy and other times joyful.  Her characters are complex and fleshed-out so that readers get a sense of knowing them.  As I said earlier, my favorite character was the colorful character of Annabella, who is someone I think I would seek out on a regular basis. I must share a few of her fabulous sayings:
… as confused as a fart in a fan factory 
… cold enough to freeze the balls off a pool table
... It sticks in my throat like a hair in a biscuit.
Annabella provides some much-needed perspectives to our main character and some equally much-needed comic relief when the story feels heavy and hopeless.

I still would like to re-visit this story in print so that I can better absorb and ponder the bigger questions it poses about the very essence of love and happiness and the costs of finding and keeping it.

I highly recommend the audio book, which clocks-in at just under six hours (and for once, I listened at regular speed). Thank you to the author for providing me a free download in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tal Boldo is a self-published award-winning novelist and audio book reader and producer. She likes to write under pseudonyms that relate to her stories. Her love story, Looking Glass Friends, was published under E. L. Neve, an anagrammatic tribute to the real letters which inspired the novel. Her middle grade fantasy, The Sound and the Echoes, was published under Dew Pellucid (Tal being the Hebrew word for Dew). The novel was a 2013 Juvenile Fiction Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards, and an Honorable Mention recipient in the 2012 Los Angeles Book Festival. Her production of Looking Glass Friends is her first foray into the world of audio books.


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