Love Like This

A novel

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Pub Date 04 Apr 2023 | Archive Date 15 Jul 2023

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For the first time in a lifetime, Angelina and Will can choose again. After twenty-two years with children at home, she has no idea what she wants and is counting on the empty house to figure it out. But he already knows—he wants her, all to himself. Nine days into their child-free life, he quits his job and announces he’s home to stay. So Angelina announces she’s returning to nursing, this time in home health care. In his new basement workroom, Will enjoys making boxes, but the quiet house sends him in search of music, where he meets Stella who reveals more than the magic of iPods. Meanwhile, Angelina's first patient is an unpredictable woman named Lucy who reveals a particular magic of her own, as does her billboard-painting son John Milton. As Angelina and Will’s life together becomes increasingly tense and their days apart become increasingly comfortable, it looks like Will may be the one to get the empty house. Love Like This drops you inside a long-term marriage, where you’ll be screaming either stay or go—as you weigh the value of sticking with the familiar versus the value of venturing into the unknown.

For the first time in a lifetime, Angelina and Will can choose again. After twenty-two years with children at home, she has no idea what she wants and is counting on the empty house to figure it out...

Advance Praise

"Love Like This is an astonishment. The novel comes on like a quiet exploration of the empty nest syndrome, but quickly deepens into an exploration of female identity, desire, and the utter unpredictability of love. Cynthia Newberry Martin’s prose is confident, precise, and, when required, as bold as a billboard. The story she’s crafted shocked and delighted me. " —Steve Almond, author of All the Secrets of the World

"Cynthia Newberry Martin has written a well-crafted and sensitive story about the perils of assuming how things are going to be rather than talking them through. Angelina and Will are relatable people whose lives are changing in their middle age, but my heart was stolen by Lucy and her son John Milton, characters whose lives are unusual and compelling. I will reread the billboard scene many times." —Alice Elliott Dark, author of Fellowship Point and In the Gloaming

"So isolated by wealth, beauty, and family, her husband’s house rules and her mother’s agoraphobia, Angelina arrives at middle age believing only the rich know about poetry. Intimate, brutal and compelling, this beautifully-paced novel is her Buddha’s journey down from the hilltop and into the world of women, the poor and the unbeautiful, who will teach her compassion, courage, open-mindedness and maybe a little self-love." —Pam Houston, author of Deep Creek, Finding Hope In The High Country

"Intimate and compelling, Cynthia Newberry Martin's Love Like This renders the subterranean longings of women and men in midlife and midstream—at the end of one way of being and at the beginning of the next. This complex and insightful story—about marriage, parenting, friendship, and rediscovering parts of yourself you thought were lost—lingers in the imagination long after you've read the last page." —Samantha Dunn, author of Not By Accident and Failing Paris

"In Love Like This, Cynthia Newberry Martin brilliantly conveys the complexities of love and marriage. Her protagonist, Angelina, is torn between her love for her husband Will and her desire, now that they are empty nesters, to be alone and free to discover who she truly is and what she wants from her life. Martin masterfully depicts both the positive and negative aspects of Angelina’s conflicting desires, and as a result even the smallest, most ordinary events in Angelina's life are packed with powerful drama. At one point a character tells her ‘The world is full of wonder.’ So is this book." —David Jauss, author of Glossolalia: New & Selected Stories

"Love Like This is an astonishment. The novel comes on like a quiet exploration of the empty nest syndrome, but quickly deepens into an exploration of female identity, desire, and the utter...

Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9780645436570
PRICE $17.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 9 members

Featured Reviews

"Love Like This" is a book I won't forget. Quietly compelling, it paints a portrait of live at middle age, the choices, struggles, and deepest longings of men and women. I just finished and am reading it again from the beginning in case I missed one nuanced line. Gorgeous prose and meditative storytelling, I am eager to share this novel with all my friends. Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC. #lovelikethis #NetGalley

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Finally reaching empty nest status, Angelina and Will have differing ideas on what it means. To Angelina, it is freedom away from all the pressures of motherhood and a time, at long last, to breathe. To Will, it is a time to spend time with Angelina to be together without kids. He quits his job and learns of their different needs. Such an interesting and involving story of finding true north amid a time of confusion.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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This was an intriguing look at marriage after many years of parenting. Angelina and Wiil are finally empty nesters, with their last daughter off to college. Angelina is thrilled to have some freedom she has missed for twenty-two years. Will wants to spend more time with Angelina and leaves his job. The following story shows their reactions to a new life with some POV chapters.

Most people who have been married can identify with the peaks and valleys of many years spent raising children and building a life together. Angelina reveals feelings and thoughts she has pushed down for a long time. She takes up nursing again and finds interesting people to engage with, giving her more perspective on where she has been and where she might want to be.

Both characters are somewhat unlikeable, but CNM lays out the entire story in a most creative and revelatory way. I enjoyed reading and relating to a look at a long marriage.

Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.

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Many thanks to NetGalley and Vine Leaves Press for gifting me a digital ARC of this new novel by Cynthia Newberry Martin - 4.5 stars!

Angelina is looking forward to an empty nest for the first time in decades. She stopped working as a nurse to raise her three girls while her husband, Will, worked outside the home. Now she wants to spend time figuring out her new life and looks forward to her empty house. But nine days after they dropped their youngest off at college, Will announces that he quit his job and is looking forward to spending time at home with Angelina.

I can relate to this couple and their feelings of figuring out their lives after so long being mostly associated with being someone else's parent. The author's writing style pulled me in and made me feel the longing and struggles this couple felt, even while they were still in love. The ending is left open just like our own endings are still to be told. Great book!

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