Cover Image: Lucy by the Sea

Lucy by the Sea

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Member Reviews

Elizabeth Strout is a queen.
I’ve connected with Lucy in all of the books about her, not because I shared her unique experiences, but because Lucy, as in the previous books, is introspective and so honest. Throughout the story it felt as if I was listening to an old friend.
I saw an older, more wiser, but maybe a more vulnerable Lucy.

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I feel as though I wrote this book, or at least offered Elizabeth Strout my journals and anxieties over the course of the Covid pandemic. The fears that Lucy faced and lived through are reminiscent of the fears that we all dealt with when this horrible, horrible disease first surfaced and spread. This really is not a scary account of the pandemic, rather a reminder of the fear of the unknown that each of us most likely felt in the beginning and as it steam-rolled. I applaud Ms. Strout for writing such a realistic account of a two-year period that made us stop in our tracks, worry endlessly about ourselves and others, and learn to deal with a virus that will most likely be around for a long long time. Lucy is a sentimental character...easy to like, easy to relate to and easy to worry about. Thankfully there are people in her circle who love, encourage and protect her. At the end of the day, isn't that what we all crave when life takes us down an unknown path?

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In the early days of the pandemic, Lucy’s ex, William, says they must get out of NYC to stay safe, and takes her to a house in Maine. He encourages their daughters to leave as well; one does, and the other stays for awhile. Lucy reflects on many things, among them her terrible childhood, friendships, her ex’s affairs, and her worry about her daughters. A quote I particularly liked about her role in their lives was “and then I remembered that one time when I was pregnant with Chrissy, I had looked down at my big stomach and thought: Whoever you are you do not belong to me. My job is to help you get into this world but you do not belong to me.” Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.

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I received a free Advanced Reading Copy via NetGalley in exchange for a complete and honest review.

One of the best books I've read in a long while.

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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ½
Genre: Literary Fiction

The world is going into a lockdown. Lucy Barton is terrified of the pandemic and what is happening around her. At first, she is unable to understand the severity of the situation. Her ex-husband William is so concerned about her and about their two daughters. He asks her to join him and go to Maine where they will be isolated from everybody else. There, Lucy will have to live and adapt to her new situation but at the same time remember about the past with her husband and children.

This is the first book I read by Elizabeth Strouth. I’m so glad that I have read it. Her writing is so beautiful and flawless. Although the pandemic is the main catalyst of this story, it is not the main purpose or subject of the story. Lucy by the Sea is a beautiful story about isolation and loneliness. You don’t need to be alone to feel lonely, sometimes you can have many people around you and you will still feel lonely. The story is rich with such subjects that are discussed in a very subtle manner using prose that is quite lyrical.

Marriage, divorce, infidelity, miscarriage, love, loss, isolation, and fear are some of the subjects and situations the author exquisitely included in her story. Lucy living by the sea in itself was a metaphoric image of the protagonist’s life. Her life and relationships with her husbands and daughters were sometimes as calm as the sea and at other times turbulent as the waves on a stormy day.

I had no idea that this was a sequel to another book that the author has written “My Name is Lucy Barton”. I’m not sure if one will miss any particular thing by reading this book because it felt to me like a standalone book. I did not notice any shortcomings when it came to the characters. They were all well-developed and fleshed out. I loved this book and would highly recommend it if you are OK with the trigger warnings. I’m looking forward to reading more books by the author in the future.

Many thanks to the publisher Random House Publishing Group - Random House and NetGalley for providing me with an advance reader copy of this book.

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A quick, immersive, & thoughtful read, perfect for fans of literary fiction.

Previously familiarity with the Lucy Barton books would be helpful, but not 100% necessary.

Lucy is back and this time she's dealing with the pandemic, which is handled very sensitively by Strout. (I would have expected nothing less.) Lucy's personal relationships are relatable and her thought processes and innermost feelings are conveyed beautifully.

While I very much enjoyed LUCY BY THE SEA, I hope Strout will plow some new ground with her next novel and introduce us to new characters.

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In the latest installment of Lucy Barton's story, her ex-husband has whisked her away from NYC to Maine during the beginning of the pandemic. Lucy comes to life once more and I will never tire of reading about her.

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I just loved this book!! I caught up with the other Lucy Barton books before reading the latest installment so I was able to keep track of all the connections. This book was told entirely from Lucy’s POV but we also got snippets about other characters, including Olive Kitteridge! I love how even a short story from a previous collection repeatedly ties in to the entire community of characters along the way.

In this installment, Lucy continues processing David’s passing, further examines the state of her relationship with her daughters, and has to make some decisions about her relationship with William. At the beginning of the book, William and Lucy escape NYC before the first Covid wave and begin to establish a new life in coastal Maine. I know some people aren’t ready to read pandemic based stories yet since we’re still living it in the moment, but this book was so profound and captured the experience so well. There was so much uncertainty about what would happen to us and the world at large. Every decision we made had unknown consequences.

Elizabeth Strout is our modern day Virginia Wolf. Lucy’s stream of consciousness always runs the gamut. While it might seem that she expresses herself too simply at times, I was often shocked by how profound all of these statements were. They crept up on you slowly and continued to resonate long after you put the book down. This volume felt like an ending but I sincerely hope that’s not the case and we will continue to follow these characters for years to come! 🤞

*Thanks to the author, Random House & NetGalley for this advance reader copy for review.

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Elizabeth Strout is great at capturing the human experience, and writing about the pandemic is no different. Lucy Barton is back managing the early days of the coronavirus pandemic with William, and her observations are what most of us felt and seen during that fragile time. I devoured this in a few days and didn’t want “Lucy by the Sea” to end.

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Beautiful book filled with humanity and grace. One of the best writers of our times has written another winner.

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I will never NOT want to know how Lucy Barton is handling current events, and even though I was worried it was "too soon" for a covid-experience book, looking back at the first year of the pandemic and all the rest that accompanied it through Lucy's eyes was thought provoking and insightful as ever.

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To say that Elizabeth Strout has a way with words is an understatement. Her poignant and powerful phrasing left me wanting to write down her words, but my desire to continue reading was stronger. So, no, I never did write down anything.

Lucy Barton narrates this story as she leaves NYC for Maine with her ex-husband William. It's the early days of the pandemic and while we know how this all unfolds, it's interesting to read a story through the eyes of someone who has no clue what the pandemic will bring.

Some might say that the storyline is slow going, but I savored every observation, fear, and joy of Lucy's -- never wanting her story to end. Masterful writing. as always from Elizabeth Strout.

I want to thank #NetGalley and Random House for this electronic ARC of #LucybytheSea.

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"Lucy by the Sea" is the fourth entry in Elizabeth Strout's collection of novels concerning Lucy Barton and the fictional town of Amgash. At the onset of the COVID pandemic, Lucy moves with her ex-husband William to Maine, where they live out lockdown, separated from their daughters, who have moved to Connecticut. As a disclaimer: I read these four novels back-to-back, and my weariness now that I have finished them all is definitely related to this process. My reaction to this book would probably be different if I had read each one when it was released, as I imagine many of Strout's readers have.

It was hard for me to get really invested in most of the book—I think because I'm a bit burned out on this set of characters at this point. I don't think it's poorly written at all, but I also think Strout's focus is more on content than its delivery, so the prose is not the kind that I really love. The larger-scale issue I have with the prose is just that certain phrases come up time and time again—a sort of vocal quirk that made Lucy very unique in "My Name is Lucy Barton" but I have kind of grown tired of ("What I mean is," and "I mean," in general, exclamations of "Oh [someone]," for example). I'm just feeling a bit overloaded on this particular voice.

My tiring of these characters is exacerbated by the fact that certain events seem to get rehashed constantly: in every book, it seems we need to be reintroduced to core events (e.g. Lucy staying after school to sleep by the radiator because she is cold), most of which were originally detailed in "My Name is Lucy Barton." I understand that it could be important to make these books approachable to newcomers at any point in the series, and I think they are! I just also think they could have been approachable without this level of repetition.

The portrayal of the pandemic is good, and fairly accurate to how I think many people lived it. I think that will be a selling point for this one, especially because Elizabeth Strout seems to have a gift for connecting with a very large audience—making a wide variety of people feel heard. Late in the book, Lucy tries to understand the political turmoil America finds itself in (e.g. anti-mask/vaccine folks, the support for Trump, who is not named but easily identifiable) and I do believe she hits the nail on the head: that so many of these people are angry and feel condescended to by others. I don't think Strout goes too far by any stretch in her sympathy for these people—Lucy notes parallels to her own life in poverty and the condescension she has suffered, and she notes that she understands—but I also question how much sympathy I have for them. At the very least, it's something to think about.

All in all, I think the book will be appreciated by those who enjoyed the previous novels, and I think like the others, it will make a lot of people feel seen and heard. It did not personally resonate with me very much, but that's okay! Not everything has to.

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While initially I was put off by this privileged family, I soon was able to relate to their relationships. Not everyone had the ability to go to family second homes or go to homes in Maine. It was the struggles to continue to communicate and relate as a family that struck me. The themes of loss permeated this book. It could have been life, love, baby, spouse, sibling or friend. We all continue to experience these feelings.
As we realize the pandemic is not really over. We will continue to experience the anxieties that have come forth. Ms Stout certainly deals with this subject

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I have loved every book Elizabeth Strout has written, and Lucy by the Sea is no exception. This book picks up shortly after Strout's last book, Oh, William. The COVID pandemic has hit New York City, and Lucy Barton's ex-husband William has convinced her to flee to Maine to escape the virus. Nothing dramatic happens in the book...Lucy and William talk and take walks, visit with neighbors and worry about their adult daughters riding out the pandemic in Connecticut. I love Lucy's voice...you feel like she is sitting next to you, just telling you her story. Another masterful book from Elizabeth Strout!

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Elizabeth Strout’s writing is so clear, so perfectly readable, that one can imagine the author sitting in the same room having a conversation. Her characters are real and thoughtful, and others, like me, will spot relatives and friends of their own within these pages. Lucy by the Sea is set at the beginning of the pandemic when Lucy flees from New York City to Maine. At first, I was reluctant to read about that time of quarantine, but I came to realize that it needed to be written about, to be discussed, and to be processed. The feelings and actions of the characters will be familiar. The strange years fighting the virus were volatile times when emotions, whether they be happy or sad, overflowed. It is a beautifully crafted, compelling book with everything that makes a story sing: dysfunctional family dynamics, space for self-reflection, and a little romance.
This book left me feeling better about a time that was so difficult and grave. And in the reading, I, like Lucy, paused to examine what I had gained. Did not the isolation make my family and friends even more dear to me? I hope others are willing to read this beautiful novel of the dark days of the pandemic. Let us not forget the effort we made and how we moved on to live full lives again.

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Elizabeth Strout's latest novel seemed like a gift for the difficult times we continue to endure. I know that books about the pandemic are not popular but I wouldn't even consider not reading a new book by ES. Lucy is back, as well as William, her ex-husband. William has a true understanding of what COVID means and rushes Lucy to a house in Maine, a solitary house on a cliff overlooking the sea. Lucy doubts William's fears but goes
along and is happy that William works at ensuring their daughters' safety.

A book by ES is a luxurious walk down memory lane with well-known characters. Lucy uses the solitary life to reflect back on things she wishes had been different. She continues to grieve her late husband, David. Lucy and William develop a well-tuned existence together in far-away Maine as the pandemic rages on in New York and then the rest of the country.

I am a bit older than Lucy/Elizabeth so I was right there with the author and the character reflecting on what I have done well in my life and what I could have done better. Thank you, ES for the brilliance of your words to take me on that journey.

Thank you to the author, NetGalley, and the publisher for this ARC.

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What an exquisite, precisely-tuned, hauntingly poignant novel Elizabeth Strout has crafted in LUCY BY THE SEA! It's impossible not to be entirely ensorceled by her masterful prose: in reading these pages, one recommends with fresh emotion the early days and mysteries and fears of the pandemic: her authorial eye is honest and always, always insightful. Lucy is a superb narrator of these events: unflinching and as tough on herself as on others. A dazzling, brilliant novel, as fine as anything the marvelous Strout as ever written.

My thanks to Random House and to Netgalley for the opportunity and pleasure of an early read.

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I keep reading all of Elizabeth Strout’s books and each new one I read becomes my favorite. But this one really is the best! Lucy’s reflective moments are so darn human and relatable. There are so many original and thoughtful insights. The theme that “everyone wants to feel important” shines through in this story that takes place during the first year of the pandemic. Lucy’s nonjudgmental insights show readers how to bridge the divisiveness that we are in the middle of. A must read for those who have strong opinions about vaccinations, masks, January 6, etc., regardless of where your opinions fall. This book will let you think on a broader perspective. Live and let live.
Thank you Netgalley for a ARC.

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Elizabeth Strout hits it out of the park with the powerfully human "Lucy By The Sea". A moody pandemic read with her trademark capture of the human experience.

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