Cover Image: Lucy by the Sea

Lucy by the Sea

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Member Reviews

Elizabeth Strout has a gift for writing simply yet elegantly and she did it very well with this book.  It's March 2020 and her ex-husband and friend William, a scientist, is able to see that this virus that is starting to appear in our world is going to be life-changing.  He is able to take whisk Lucy away to Crosby, Maine from New York City but has mixed results getting their daughters out of the city.  Just days after they leave NYC the country shuts down.  This story takes the reader through the first year of the pandemic as seen through the eyes and feelings of Lucy. Elizabeth Strout so  accurately channels what many of us felt during the pandemic through her character Lucy.  The feelings of aimlessness and failure to concentrate and the heartbreak of losing loved ones and not being able to visit ones  children is well written.  Oftentimes, I felt myself thinking, she's writing about me.  I am just like Lucy Barton and I had all these same feelings as her during the pandemic.  I was not alone in all of this.

There are probably some people who do not want to read and relive their pandemic experience and I certainly understand that and it's not something I want to do either but I feel Elizabeth Strout did a very good job writing about the fears of people during this time.

Thank you NetGalley for an ARC of this book.
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Oh, Lucy Barton! I will continue to read her adventures until Elizabeth Strout stops writing them, which I hjope never happens. Lucy Barton is the most likable flawed character in recent literary history. The simple yet direct and specific way her voice is written is incredibly easy to connect with and to understand. Her thoughts and her feelings are unapologetically hers, and she owns them in a way that inspires me as a real human. 

This time we encounter her navigating the pandemic at a house in Maine with William, her ex-husband who never seems to fully become an ex. Lucy is out of her element, but gradually adjusts to her new circumstances and the people it introduces her to. We see her go through an enormous period of growth, and even though it's a relatively short book, I felt as though I had grown with her. Always, always 5 stars for Lucy Barton and Elizabeth Strout.
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Lucy is a widow, and she misses her second husband, David, terribly. Her entire life, or most of it, anyway, has been marred by deprivation, cruelty, and tragedy. Then finally she meets and marries a lovely man, and they are happy together until death parts them. She thinks of him constantly. But now the pandemic has taken hold, and although she isn’t really paying attention, her first husband, William, is. William is single now, too, and he and Lucy see one another from time to time because of their two daughters, both grown now. And so in this, the fourth of the Lucy Barton books, William obtains the keys to a friend’s cabin, clear up on the coast of Maine, and he swoops in and takes Lucy away with him, away from the contagion. Just for a week or two, she figures. 
My thanks go to Net Galley and Penguin Random House for the invitation to read and review. This book is for sale now. 

I must confess that after reading the first two in the series, My Name is Lucy Barton and Anything is Possible, I decided to give it a rest. Strout is a literary genius, of that I have no doubt, but the stories she wrote were so grim, and her formidable authorial skill only made them sadder. I decided for my own good to walk away. 

But then I was invited to read and review the third, Oh William, and early reviews suggested more joy and less wretchedness, and after I read it, I was glad I had done it. That holds true here as well, although, like Becka and Chrissy, Lucy and William’s daughters, I am a little concerned for her. But I’m getting ahead of myself. 

William is more alert than Lucy, or perhaps, like so many, she has been in denial. “It’s odd how the mind does not take in anything until it can.” She is reluctant to go. A friend has died; what about the funeral? She shouldn’t miss that! The friend, however, has died of COVID19, and William tells her there won’t be a funeral. But then…what about her hair appointment? Her lunch date? Cancel them, he tells her. 

The most delicious thing about the Lucy books is the depth with which Strout develops character. In fact, there’s almost no action taking place. The books are eighty or ninety percent character. So naturally, the reader that needs an intricate plot to be happy won’t find satisfaction here, but those of us—and I am one of them—that are happiest exploring rich, dynamic characters are in for a treat. 

It’s a strangely nostalgic journey. So many of the attitudes and expectations that gripped us during the early days of the pandemic are in full flower in these pages, and though it’s only been a couple of years, it was such a unique period that I find myself nodding when one character or another says something that sounds exactly like me, or a family member, or a friend. 

But back to Lucy and William. They were married for nearly twenty years before he ran off with someone else, and now they have been divorced for about the same length of time. When Lucy asks William why he invited her to go with him, he tells her that he wanted to save her life; but in fact, there’s more to it, and this becomes clearer as we progress. And as much as I want dear Lucy to be happy, I also want to remind her that a man that will up and leave after twenty years for no reason other than an infatuation with someone else, is unlikely to be trustworthy on an emotional level. Watch yourself, Lucy. It’s good that you’re out of the germ pool, but hang onto your heart. 

As for me, I look forward to seeing how things develop; the ending leaves little doubt that there must be an Amgash #5. 

Faithful readers will want to read this book; for newbies, you can read them out of order and they’ll make sense, but because Strout is building her character as we go, it’s better to read them in order if you can. And also for newbies: Lucy and William are both Caucasian Boomers, and so the most enthusiastic readers will probably come from this demographic. Highly recommended.
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In "Lucy by the Sea," Elizabeth Strout returns to a set of characters we have come to know well through the series of books that started with "I Am Lucy Barton." Adding to the familiarity is that Lucy is living, at least temporarily, in the fictional Maine town inhabited by Olive Kitteridge, another beloved Strout heroine. "Lucy by the Sea" captures the confusion and terror of the COVID pandemic's earliest days. Lucy and her ex-husband, William, flee New York City together. She finds herself asking the questions we all asked ourselves in 2020: Do we need to wear masks everywhere? Will it be safe to go in a restaurant again? Can I hug my loved ones? It's hard to read and to revisit those feelings, but Strout does an excellent job recording the sadness and uncertainty as well as the occasional bursts of joy that could be found in nature or moments of unexpected human connection. Lucy and William aren't easy to love, but that's what makes it interesting to see how they navigate this crisis. As ever, Strout’s plain, unadorned prose packs a huge punch. I found myself crying more than once.
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The writing is exquisite and will spellbind readers. 
Many thanks to Random House and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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This one was not for me…I completed this one but couldn’t connect with it…I felt like I didn’t know who the characters were and why we were supposed to care about them…I didn’t realize until after I finished that it was part of a series…perhaps I would have enjoyed it more had I read the previous parts
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Full review to come on Goodreads and Amazon.  Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for a review copy.
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I’m a fan of Elizabeth’s books and although her writing was familiar, this story was unique. If you’ve read any of her books you know that her ex husband and her are still friends, even though he cheated on her. The story becomes interesting as their relationship evolves while they shelter together during Covid.
I could relate to all of the uncertainty they go through as we all did during that time. My favorite part of the book is feeling like a good friend along with Lucy listening to her self talk in dealing her relationships. Relationships included her two daughters, friends she makes during lockdown, and her relationship with herself.  I found it thought provoking. sweet and honest.
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This unfortunately was not the book for me. I found it a little slow and struggled to finish. It was very well written and characters were well built.
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I can't believe it took me this long to read this author. Elizabeth Strout takes an ordinary woman with an ordinary life, and makes her journey cinematic.
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Intimate and authentic, Lucy By The Sea is one woman’s introspective recount of life during the pandemic. Lucy Barton is a successful writer grieving the loss of her second husband in New York City when Covid-19 begins and her first husband, William, convinces her to go to a house in Maine with him to wait out the pandemic. Although this is the fourth in a series about Lucy Barton, I didn’t feel like my ignorance on the previous books impacted my enjoyment of this one at all. 

Lucy’s recount is disjointed at times - weaving between modern situations, childhood memories, philosophical musings, etc. - and I loved that about this book. It really felt like I was getting a secret glimpse into someone’s diary. I also appreciated viewing the world through a mature woman’s eyes - a woman who has gone through a rough past, built a home and family, left that home when it became toxic, found independent success, and now looks at life with a wise lens. So many books center around 30 something’s and, frankly, as a thirty something, most of us are still struggling to figure out life. It was a nice change to view the situation we all experienced (the pandemic and all of the political and cultural fallout that came afterward) through Lucy’s eyes. 

Speaking of the pandemic, the entire book is set during the pandemic from NYC inception to the vaccines so if you’re still processing this and have major PTSD, wait to read this one at a later time. Lucy experiences and recount the wide array of pandemic emotions we all felt at different moments in time - skeptical, confused, lost, depressed, lethargic, appreciative, frightened, bored, frustrated, and hopeful - through quiet musings that are often very insightful. She also recounts the horror and shock of many of the cultural events (George Floyd, Capitol, riots, etc) with honesty and wisdom. 

This quiet yet impactful book won’t appeal to all readers but those who are willing to slow down and take a trip down (nightmare?) lane of 2020-2022 will be immersed in Lucy’s story like I was. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for the advance copy. All opinions in this review are my own.
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Oh, Elizabeth Strout, you cannot do me wrong. This was such a delightful little read, and Lucy's voice is so wonderful, and I love that Lucy is also an author, so we can see her explore the world with her writer's very honest mind. Set in the pandemic, Lucy is taken to the coast of Maine by a former husband who insists he wants to save her. There are all kinds of plot points that are big and important but aren't treated as melodramatic--Lucy simply cares and worries and shivers in Maine, loving many, and questioning even more. Strout has a fabulous voice that is such a valuable part of our literary landscape.

See also the permanent stories on my Instagram called "Book Recs." Lucy by the Sea will be featured there!
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Strout is one of my favorite authors and I love this series, but this is my least favorite. While I’m liberal and agree with Lucy and Williams’ politics, it seemed so out of place in this series. I love the character driven nature of Strout and this series but this one seemed so thin. Maybe I’m just not ready for pandemic stories or I expected more from my beloved Lucy, but she seemed so dim in this one. I did love the nods to Olive and Bob of her other books.
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I was lucky to receive an advance copy of Lucy by the Sea from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review and opinion.  I have read other books by Elizabeth Strout and was excited to be approved to read this one early.  This book took us back to the beginning of COVID when we all thought things would be locked down just for a couple of weeks (boy were we wrong).  I truly enjoyed this book and the way it was written with some of the story line being in Lucy's head.  This book is part of a series and can be read as a stand alone but if you do that prepare yourself for pieces of her other books that have details you might not want to see if you want to go back and read the earlier books.  Do yourself a favor and start at book one asap and don't stop until you finish this one!
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Not my favorite Strout novel at all - sick of COVID books! I love Strout's writing style but this was a slog to read.
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Thanks, Netgalley and the publisher, for sending me a free ebook arc in exchange for my honest review. I really enjoyed Lucy by the Sea. It was my first book of the Amgash series, but I was still able to read it easily and connect with the characters without the previous books under my belt. After reading this one, I am highly interested in checking out more from the series. I thought the writing style was quite distinct and is probably not going to suit everyone's tastes. Elizabeth Strout wrote in such a "slice of life" way that was so comforting, cozy, and relatable. I found Lucy's reflections to be insightful without being pretentious or forced. Nothing really happened in this book; it's much more character and relationship driven than plot centered. Overall, I found the premise to be completely mundane and simple, but the writer's voice was so unique that I will be coming back for more.
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This is book 4 in the Amgash series.  Set in Maine during the Co-Vid epidemic it is a new look into the pandemic.  A poignant, pitch-perfect novel about a divorced couple stuck together during lockdown--and the love, loss, despair, and hope that animate us even as the world seems to be falling apart.

With her trademark spare, crystalline prose, Elizabeth Strout turns her exquisitely tuned eye to the inner workings of the human heart, following the indomitable heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton through the early days of the pandemic.
As a panicked world goes into lockdown, Lucy Barton is uprooted from her life in Manhattan and bundled away to a small town in Maine by her ex-husband and on-again, off-again friend, William. For the next several months, it's just Lucy, William, and their complex past together in a little house nestled against the moody, swirling sea.

Rich with empathy and emotion, Lucy by the Sea vividly captures the fear and struggles that come with isolation, as well as the hope, peace, and possibilities that those long, quiet days can inspire. At the heart of this story are the deep human connections that unite us even when we're apart--the pain of a beloved daughter's suffering, the emptiness that comes from the death of a loved one, the promise of a new friendship, and the comfort of an old, enduring love.
It gives insight into the New York City that made the news everyday.
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I always love Elizabeth Strout's writing and it was just lovely to spend time with Lucy Barton again. As a character, Lucy always surprises and delights me...sometimes she doesn't quite catch others' intentions or understand their truth and then in another instance, she shows such a keen insight of others. Here, we find that Lucy has retreated to Maine with William at the beginning of the COVID pandemic. She is struggling to understand and adapt to the times, while also figuring out her next steps and how to stay connected to her family during a time of social distancing. 

Thanks to NetGalley, the author, and Random House for an opportunity to read an e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
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It’s 2023, and upon opening this book I’m plunged back into 2020. America and the world were thrust into the midst of the covid pandemic, all of us positive that we were gonna die before it loosened. 

I was one of the lucky ones; I was sequestered at home for about six weeks before I was able to go back into my office. Hubs on the other hand was always out as he worked for an “essential” business. 

Lucy’s ex-husband, and the father of her two grown daughters, William is a scientist. He understands what is happening more than Lucy. To keep her safe, William borrows a cabin on the coast Maine that he whisks Lucy to in order to avoid the virus. Drama rears its head as Elizabeth and William keep tabs on their offspring, Chrissy and Becca.

This novel centers on the isolation and loneliness and how the fear of merely going to the grocery was so prevalent. As with most Elizabeth Strout novels, “Lucy by the Sea,” is character driven.

Lucy is still mourning the death of her second husband, David, all the while re-adjusting to life with William. They cook, take long walks, keep in touch with their daughters and gasp! Even make a new friend. Their new friend is Bob Burgess, whom readers will remember from “The Burgess Boys.” When he visits, there is always the minimum six feet apart from each other. Readers will also rejoice in the briefly brief appearance of Olive Kitteridge, but I won’t spoil that sighting.

And, as my daddy used to say, “everything always works out.” I spent two evenings reading this novel. It was both too long and too short. Too long in that I did not really reliving those early pandemic days, and too short in that I wanted more. I look forward to reading more about Lucy and William in the future.
“Lucy by The Sea” receives 5 out of 5 stars in Julie’s world.
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This was a hard DNF from me. The writing was good, but I didn’t want to read about the epidemic or the trauma of those days. I went into the book blind and was put off by the entitlement of the main characters who were wealthy enough to spend 2020 secluded in a nice cabin. I found Lucy insufferable with her childish attitude and whining. So many people really suffered during this time without the luxury of a vacation home. I know that this is an unpopular opinion but it is an honest one. Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.
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