Member Reviews

This latest installment of the Lucy Barton story takes Lucy and William to Maine to escape the growing COVID pandemic in NYC. Strout's gentle, no-nonsense character studies get to the heart of everyday life and the effects of isolation on social animals. Lucy By the Sea took me right into the loneliness of isolation that I never experienced during the shutdown.

Was this review helpful?

Lucy Barton is an acquired taste, and I love this character. Through three books (and the related others, like Olive Kittredge), I've come to love her dry wit, her neuroses, her anxieties, and her philosophical thoughts and comments. I would not recommend this to anyone who has not read the others, primarily because the appeal of this story is the relationship between William and Lucy which was detailed in the previous books. It's not that a new reader would be confused, there are plenty of flashbacks and explanations, but I don't think new readers would find the characters as appealing as someone who has invested time in the previous books.

Lucy is still recovering from David's death, William's wife has left him, and Covid hits. William spirits Lucy out of New York to a small village in Maine. Over the course of a year, friendships are formed, raelationships change, and Lucy and William deal with the changes of aging. This is not an action packed story, but fans of these books will be pleased to see how Lucy & her family navigate these changes. A nice story filled with heart (and Olive Kittredge even plays a role).

Was this review helpful?

Lucy Barton’s ex-husband William is a parasitologist and realizes the harm the Covid-19 Virus may potentially bring to the world early on. He convinces Lucy to get out of New York City and to stay with him in a house in Maine to isolate. Lucy initially finds the pandemic confusing and is fearful of what is happening in the world around her but slowly adjusts to life in a small town with William.

As with all of Elizabeth Strout’s wonderful novels, this one is about the characters. Strout has such an amazing ability to draw moments from everyday life so vividly. The reader is also treated to small snippets about characters from previous books which is always delightful. I may have squealed a little when Olive Kitteridge was mentioned. Olive is one of my all time favourite characters in literature.

Lucy By the Sea is a quiet story that highlights the experiences of many during the early moments of the pandemic.

Thank you to @netgalley and @RandomHouse for an ARC in exchange for my honest opinions. Lucy By the Sea publishes September 20, 2022.

Was this review helpful?

What a treat to spend time immersed in Lucy and William's world as they weather the pandemic together. Strout has written the best COVID-era narrative yet, perfectly capturing the uncertainty, the grief, and the spectrum of response.

Was this review helpful?

Lucy’s story continues in the author’s latest book. More background on her and William’s past is revealed as he convinces her to leave New York and stay in Maine to rude out the pandemic. Lucy now is safe but deals with how her world and that of her daughters is changing and evolving. As much as she would like to, she cannot control what is happening. So many emotions new and old for her. She finds she must adapt to this latest phase of her life.

Was this review helpful?

The first year of the pandemic is captured in the life and thoughts of Lucy Barton. Lucy is a writer in her 60’s who escapes her NYC apartment to stay safe in a Maine cottage with her ex-husband William. Her mental wanderings and observations of the people in her life (including herself) connect. Readers of I am Lucy Barton will delight in the chance to revisit the character, but if the reader has not made her acquaintance before, they will be intrigued by Lucy’s voice, nonetheless. The novel is brief but deeply impactful. When I finished, I could not pick up another book for several days because I wasn’t ready to end my relationship with Lucy by the Sea.

Was this review helpful?

Strout gives us another wonderful Lucy Barton story. And even Olive Kitteridge makes an appearance. When I read Oh, William last year, I kept thinking, "I'm glad you're making this trip now, Lucy and William." Lucy is such a multilayered character. I hope she returns in another Strout book. I did find it somewhat stressful to be reading about the first year of the pandemic. It's amazing how much our mind forgets. This would make a good book discussion title.

Was this review helpful?

Lucy Barton, by now, has become an old friend of mine. The cadence of her voice is familiar and comforting. Her story in Lucy By The Sea, this time, is one that we have all been living. It has been a confluence of devastating events including social, racial, political, and economic unrest wrapped around a lethal pandemic. I came to reading this new book as I turned the corner from the Covid that had caught up with me after having escaped it for the better part of two years. It occurred to me while reading that although we all have experienced these same traumas they have affected us differently depending on our circumstances. Lucy’s story is a meditation on coping with the unforeseen from the perspective of age and, in her case, one of financial comfort. Thank you Random House and Netgalley for allowing me an early read of this timely novel by a favorite writer.

Was this review helpful?

I just love Lucy! I met her in “My Name is Lucy Barton” where I enjoyed getting to know her and all about her background. Then, I went along for her trip with William to Maine in “Oh William!” What an interesting ride!

Now, William takes Lucy to live in Maine and “shelter in place” throughout the pandemic. So they hunker down together trying to figure out how to live this new life, wondering what the future will bring. And Lucy is so good at telling little things that happen along the way, things that seem so insignificant at the time, but usually carry a lot of meaning. She tells all of her feelings, whether they are ups or downs, as she is going through this unusual time.

I really enjoyed going through this unfamiliar situation with Lucy, and seeing what lies ahead for her. I am hoping for another book in the future to see how she and her family are getting along. It is like visiting with old friends each time I read one of Elizabeth Strout’s “Lucy” books!

I'd like to thank NetGalley, Elizabeth Strout, and Random House Publishing Group for the advanced reader's copy in exchange for my unbiased review.

Was this review helpful?

Lucy by the Sea is one of my favorite of the Elizabeth Strout books about Lucy Barton. It is set at the beginning of the pandemic and Lucy Barton is taken to the coast of Maine at her ex-husband William’s insistence. They settle in to an old house in a small town to wait out the pandemic. Lucy narrates the book and you can easily relate to her sadness and anxiety that the pandemic, world events, and being separated from her daughters brings about. During this time, Lucy and William individually and together reminisce about their past including their time together and resolve many misunderstandings. They also come to accept one another including their flaws.

The story is the first one I’ve read set during the pandemic and it was very easy to relate to our shared experiences and fears. I highly recommend this book.and you can read it without having read any of her previous books about Lucy Barton.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for the early copy in in return for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Truthfully, I have not read any other Lucy Barton/William books. I read Olive Kittredge and loved it, so I figured I'd give this one a try. I wasn't prepared for it to be set so recently, among thebpademic and civil unrest in the USA. When I realized that, I wasn't sure I really wanted to read a book about Covid yet, but I pressed on.
If I had to pick a place to start with a 2020-era novel, this would be it. If you've not read a Lucy Barton novel, you really (really) have to get used to her stream-of-consciousness way of talking (an interesting writing concept for Strout) but other than that, it's a good novel. It also stood well alone, even though it's part of a series. There was enough background - without feeling like just rehashing the other books - to understand where all the characters were coming from.

Was this review helpful?

This is the story of the pandemic through Lucy's eyes, from the morning people around her started talking about it to the end when the vaccine was introduced and people were starting to get them. As the story evolved, Lucy had started to describe how the pandemic made her feel and how the pandemic effected her and her family, and how she worried about those exposed and those who died, and how helpless she felt. The story brought up a lot of the feelings I was having during the pandemic and brought up the memories of people I knew that died. Sad. It made me remember and sad about the protests and how the wedge from politics has divided this country to the point where I don't know if we will ever get back together. Just emotional draining.

There is so much that's going on in this story that just reviewing the book doesn't do the story justice because I know I'm going to miss something that I found important. For instance, the pandemic and how it effected her children and siblings. Her new relationships in Maine, where William and Lucy went to stay through the pandemic and ended up staying. William's and Lucy relation and how it changed over time and how William's life effected her too. Her new friends in Maine and how she found them interesting. And finally Lucy's new story that she's writing that was inspired from a policeman at a gas station and wondering what his life is like.

This is the third story I've read from Elizabeth Strout and the way she tells the story, I find I am so involved with these characters that I feel I'm included in the community and I've made a whole new set of friends to follow and find out about and I like that she includes some of her old characters like Olive.

I want to thank Random House Publishing Group - Random House, Random House and NetGalley for an advance copy of this real amazing story.

Was this review helpful?

Elizabeth Strout has written a new book about Lucy Barton, who has been the subject of several other of her novels. The stories are always a little sad and bleak, as Lucy remembers things from her childhood and adulthood, and does not have . Lucy and her ex-husband leave New York at the beginning of the pandemic and go to stay in a rural area in Maine. There are issues with their daughters and their families. Her novels are in some ways so sad, but the writing is beautiful and characters very well drawn. #lucybythesea #elizabethstrout #netgalley #bookstagram #booklover #booksbooksbooks #lovetoread #bookloversofinstagram #readersofinstagram #pandemicnovel #readallday #takeapagefrommybook

Was this review helpful?

4.5. Another absolute wow from Elizabeth Strout. She is one of my favorite authors. Her writing, like in other of her novels, is crisp and beautiful to read. This is her latest in the Lucy Barton series and follows O William. This novel is probably my favorite so far in the Amgash/Lucy Barton series.

This novel covers so many issues, notably the first year or so of the COVID pandemic. The pandemic provides the backdrop for the novel. In the story, Lucy’s ex-husband, William, takes Lucy out of New York City at the beginning of the pandemic because he foresaw the impending dangers, and moved them to Maine, the site of so many of Ms. Strout’s novels.

The pandemic provides a constant background to the events in the novel. The novel goes into Lucy’s relationships with her family growing up, her two husbands and her children and their families. Family dynamics, as in her other novels, takes center stage in this one as well. But the novel also goes into the themes of loneliness, loss, sadness, grief, pain, marriage, divorce, death, and love.

Ms Strout truly has an uncanny handle on the human condition, and through Lucy expresses the realism of the everyday motions and experiences of people, including vulnerabilities, honesty sometimes to a fault, personal reflections on our lives past and present, individuals’ impacts on others, as well as often demonstrating the interconnected threads weaving through our lives with others. With COVID, she aptly described what many of us experienced during the early times of the pandemic and the uncertainty surrounding it.

What I also truly loved about this novel is how she weaved in many of her characters from other novels not in the Lucy Barton series into this one. And all characters are so well defined. A magnificent read. Thank you NetGalley for providing me an advance copy for an unbiased and candid review.

Was this review helpful?

This book takes place in a very specific time of recent history: the first year or so of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the social and political issues happening at that time. More than a year has passed since then, so in some ways the book feels quaint, as we now know more than these characters do. But it represents a snapshot of those times, told from the perspective of a very quirky character. This is the first novel by this author that I have read, so it was my introduction to Lucy Barton, et. al. I enjoyed this book, and may go back to read the earlier ones involving these characters. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

As we submerse ourselves back into Lucy’s life, we are in New York when the pandemic first arrives. William has invited Lucy to stay with him in Maine in a cabin belonging to his friend. Lucy just couldn’t understand why or how Covid could be so bad, but she made the smart decision to go with him. While they were locked down in Maine, we get more insight into the older Lucy and her relationship with William. Honestly, I’m approaching her age and I wish I had her wisdom, both as the younger Lucy and the older Lucy. I never get tired of reading about her.

This book briefly mentions some past Strout characters and I was so excited to see their names again. We also read about real life events that happened parallel to the pandemic. Don’t be afraid to read this because of talk about bad times. Strout writes with such tenderness and you can trust her not to cause any post-lockdown trauma.

I give this book 5 stars and I hope there’s at least one more Lucy Barton story coming.

Thank you, NetGalley for the advanced reader copy.

Was this review helpful?

This is more way more than a pandemic novel. Lucy Barton fans will devour this story of life. William, decides to whisk Lucy to a rustic, waterfront cottage in Maine to quarantine. Lucy is filled with anxiety, sadness and hope. How will she cope outside of NYC? She misses her family and friends, but learns to adjust to the quiet Maine life and actually makes some friends. There are even some nods to our old friend Olive!
Thank you Net Galley for the AMAZING book by Elizabeth Strout. I look forward to the next one!

Was this review helpful?

A tremendous book. It is set during the start of the pandemic. Lucy Barton is uprooted from her New York apartment by her ex-husband and taken to the coast of main. They hunker down together and wait out the pandemic. What I loved: Lucy narrates the book and it sounds just like she is talking to me. I can feel her sadness, her hope, her anxiety and her love. She made me feel some of my pandemic issues were common and relevant. Depression, anxiety, fear, memory loss. I think many of us can relate to the feelings that Lucy expressed.
I think this could be a stand alone book if you haven’t previously read Elizabeth Sprout’s books. If you have read her previously, and liked her writing, this one definitely lives up to her standards.
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for the DRC. In return I have written an honest and heartfelt review.

Was this review helpful?

I believe this was my favorite of the Elizabeth Strout books. It surprises me, as the journey Lucy makes through the pandemic isn’t all that different from what we all experienced—yet the story was rich with family interactions even while isolation was the norm. This book would hold up beautifully as a book club choice. I expect it will be a choice for us when it is released.

Was this review helpful?

Another novel by Elizabeth Strout that I loved. Not everyone likes her writing style but I find it to be very comforting, like sitting with an old friend. Her insights are so personal and yet so relatable. I find myself saying “exactly!” all the time. In this book she addresses the pandemic and captures the fear, loneliness, and boredom while in isolation with her ex-husband. It’s very emotional in its simplicity and I often wonder at her talent to be able to uncover such meaning in everyday life. Highly recommend. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?