Cover Image: Lucy by the Sea

Lucy by the Sea

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I’ve never read any of Elizabeth Strouts novels but I’ve definitely been interested, so I was excited to get a copy of this one, her upcoming release.

The story is very timely. Ridiculously timely. It’s June 2022 as I write this and the book references events that happened in January 2022. Needless to say, Ms Strout seems to be an incredibly fast writer.

The story is about Lucy Barton, a novelist in her mid-60s who lives in NYC. As the novel begins, it is early 2020 and the coronavirus is spreading quickly in the US. Her ex-husband, William, convinces Lucy to leave the city and stay with him in Maine, safer from the onslaught of the pandemic.

While in Maine, Lucy begins to understand herself (and her ex-husband, and their kids) a lot better. We all probably got somewhat introspective during the pandemic. It seems Elizabeth Strout used this book to explore her purpose in the world as she continues to get older. Or Lucy’s purpose, which I assume is a reflection of Elizabeth’s.

The novel is a relatively quick read. Though not a lot happens beyond dysfunctional family dynamics and self-reflection, it is compelling enough to breeze through.

Personally, I wouldn’t rush out to buy this book. Not having read anything else of Strouts, I’m still going to guess that she’s got other books that are better.

The writing in this book is fine, though maybe a little rushed. The characters in the book are believable, though maybe not overly interesting. The story in the book is relatable - or at least the pandemic setting is relatable. It’s all… well… good. And sometimes good is good enough.

#netgalley #lucybythesea

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I was so excited when I started reading this much anticipated and MESMERIZING novel by one of my best loved and FAVORITE Authors', Elizabeth Strout. That this was a follow up to her previous novel called, "OH WILLIAM!" was like receiving an unexpected gift. Lucy Barton is featured again with her ex-husband William and I was simply on cloud nine with all the happy chemicals firing together in my brain while I inhaled this Exquisite newest offering called, "LUCY BY THE SEA". Lucy, as I have said before is such a wise and authentic character. I felt like I was visiting with a cherished friend as she spoke to me directly because it is written in the first person narrative.

Lucy is a writer who says she doesn't know if her books have been helpful to her readers. Yes! I have been helped by her intimate gems she shares while speaking to me about her two daughters that she had while married to her first husband, William. She is such a great role model as a mother of two adult children. When she says that she misses them and describes when they got too big to be being picked up and longs for those days gone by, I totally could relate to her. She recalled when William had affairs when they lived together as a family, and she wonders how much her heart ache over his affairs got in the way of her fully enjoying her daughters when they were little, and my heart just broke for her. She gave Chrissy good advice when her daughter exhibited signs that she was contemplating stepping outside her marriage to her husband, Michael. Mother's intuition was spot on and I admire Lucy's advice to Chrissy.

I loved how Lucy made up in her imagination a "kind mother", and absorbed how her kind mother would respond versus her real mother who could be harsh and critical from what I have gleaned from reading this novel. I think that is a great idea and it shows how healthy and mentally attuned Lucy is and by doing that she is able to not be a victim of her mother's bad parenting. My mother could be critical at times and I tend to take all the blame when there is a conflict with someone who I love. Thank you, Elizabeth Strout, for your realistic portrayal of family dynamics and for crafting your contemporary fiction with so much realism. We have our choice on whether we perpetuate unhealthy patterns, or we can give to ourselves that which we didn't receive while growing up in less than perfect childhoods.

William is Lucy's first husband and he takes her to a house in Maine to stay getting her to leave her apartment that she shared with her second husband, named David who died. William knew that the pandemic was going to be bad in New York City so he took precautions by "saving" Lucy by getting her to stay in a house on the ocean in Maine. William is a scientist so he had more insight than most of us had when the pandemic was raging during 2020. When one of Lucy's daughters confronts her asking if Lucy ever considered if William manipulated her by bringing her to Maine I admired her response. I really LOVED this novel and I just adore Elizabeth Strout's portrayal of real family life. I hope that she revisits William and Lucy's themes and I can't wait to read whatever she writes next. I feel blessed and grateful to have been approved to read this fantastic new novel by a writer who writes with such a nod to humanity. I feel like re-reading this because it is universal and it sparkles with so much truth!

Publication Date: September 20, 2022

Thank you to Net Galley, Elizabeth Strout and Random House Publishing Group for generously providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

#LucybytheSea #ElizabethStrout #RandomHousePublishingGroup #NetGalley

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Another of my very favorite authors. She did not disappoint this time! Oh man could I relate to this story! To read about someone going through the pandemic is so weird but amazing. Lucy is close to my age and so much of what she goes through is exactly what I have experienced in the past couple years. Not being around your children, wearing masks and social distancing, navigating where and when to venture out of your comfort zone. One might think that we have had enough of Covid and would never want to read a fictional story about it but I found this wonderful and just flew through it. Well done!

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I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lucy and William reunite to quarantine during the pandemic. They forge ahead with their individual and joint lives in Maine, far away from the hustle and bustle of New York.

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I loved Oh William! So to have another opportunity to read a new Strout novel is something special to me!

Lucy by the Sea is a phenomenal, engaging story I just couldn't get enough of!
Strout's talent in creating and developing diverse characters with such complexity, depth is really extraordinary. 
The author is a master at drawing you into the lives of her characters and holding you there till the very end!
She makes it easy to genuinely connect to these characters.
Beautifully written. Strout is reliable, creative, and has mastered her skilled craft at getting inside her character’s heads, heart, and soul. They truly come alive on the page. 
A superb read that I highly recommend.

“I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”

Random House,
Thank You for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!
I will post my review to my platforms, blog, B&N and Waterstone closer to pub date.

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This book is luminous, brilliant, and I did not want it to end. I’ve loved each of Elizabeth Strout’s Lucy Barton books, but this one is special. Somehow she captures perfectly so many of the fears and feelings of this time of quarantine (and also just the time of assessing one’s life). She places them on this one character, Lucy, and yet somehow, at the same time, makes them incredibly personal, and universal.. I felt seen by these chapters in a way I’ve never quite experienced before. Elizabeth Strout is a gift to readers, and I am so grateful to have had a chance to read this wonderful book.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book.

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Ohhhh, wow! Elizabeth Strout once again gave us another fantastic Lucy Barton installment! Lucy by the Sea finds Lucy Barton in New York City in the beginning of March 2020. At the first rumblings of Covid-19 in the United States, William, Lucy’s ex-husband, asks her to pack-up and move to Maine with him for the lockdown. Now Lucy and William are divorced for a reason, but their rare and genuine friendship during this unprecedented pandemic had my glued to my kindle from the first to last page!

Every single person will find this novel so incredibly relatable! I initially was a little nervous a novel centering around the beginning of the pandemic would be “too soon”, but as it turns out, I found Lucy by the Sea cathartic and validating. In the last 2+ years we have sped at lightening speed through such enormously heartbreaking/horrific/frightening situations that have come from the pandemic, as well as the rollercoaster it still continues to move us on and it was eye opening for me to read how far we have come since the early days. I have always love Lucy Barton and I am so glad Elizabeth gave us a glimpse into her (and her family and friend’s) world during this unprecedented period! Lucy by the Sea is a 5 star novel that will definitely stay with me! I truly hope Elizabeth has more in mind for Lucy in the future!

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The stark writing of Strout tackles the pandemic and lockdown. Lucy Barton returns in this novella set in Maine, where William has taken Lucy to escape Covid and the trouble it is wreaking on Manhattan. Lucy has trouble writing and takes to walking and visiting the sea to calm her fears and anxiety. Lucy's relationship to William is the heart of this story.

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a stunning account of current events told through the lens of Lucy Barton. Riveting, mesmerizing.
Elizabeth Strout is one of our best authors and she proves it with every book. I opened this book and didn't stop reading until it ended. Life has been so complicated and difficult that seeing it laid out before me in this book was a bit of a shock. Living day to day does not provide the best vantage point. Seeing Lucy making her way through it all, somehow it was a revelation. I absolutely loved this book.

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Lucy by the Sea (and all of Strout's books in the Amgash, Ohio series -- and, for that matter, any of the Olive books, too!) can be given to future readers to help them make sense of the past 10 years, and, in Lucy by the Sea, the early to mid-Covid-19 period when we were all at the beginning of siesmic change in our culure, society, and our ways of being and behaving. To understand this book and its characters, it is essential to first read My Name is Lucy Barton, Anything is Possible, and Oh, William, preferably in that order. This latest installment of Strout's Amgash series will update the dedicated reader on William and Lucy's relationship, and how they and their daughters navigated the first year of the pandemic. Strout's writitng -- and Lucy's narration -- makes this a joy to read, like one is talking to a longtime friend. The story is engaging, the writing is magical, and the book will, I think, stand the test of time when we all try to make sense of these last handful of years in the distant future.

*I was provided a digital Advanced Reader Copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for a review.

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I love Elizabeth Strout and this book reminded me why. Another chapter in life f Lucy Barton highlights the challenges that Covid brought to society and explore another chapter of Lucy’s life

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The pandemic changed us. This story is how one divorced couple – Lucy and William – shoved their differences aside and reconnected in order to survive the brutal effects of the virus in NYC. For those that enjoyed some of the author’s prior books, this is a return visit from familiar characters of the past including Lucy Barton, William Gerhardt and Bob Burgess.

It starts when William told Lucy to quickly pack her bags with signs that the coronavirus was headed their way. He found them a place to stay on the coast of Maine where the view of the sea was astonishing yet it felt cold and damp. Lucy wore her coat inside to stay warm. She said, “I hate the smell of other people’s lives” as they entered their friend’s second house in the small town. It was far from the people she loved and noticeably quiet. But she was at a risk with her age to stay in her NYC apartment. She knew that they were fortunate to get out in order to stay safe. At the same time, she was hearing the news that many were dying in the city and she worried about her daughter who was still there.

The book brought back memories from just two years ago when there was a lockdown in major cities with everyone wearing masks, following social distancing, standing in lines in grocery stores with the hopes of finding toilet paper on the shelves. While I was reading this story it was like I was sitting on a bench with a friend trying to make sense of what just happened to all of us. Lucy would never see her apartment one more time, some of her friends and family members would end up dying and relationships would change. She said, “I can’t wait for it to end.” Everyone said the same thing.

The author has a certain writing style which reflects upon issues for seniors. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the word: douchebag. She brings up relationship matters of how love takes a new meaning that weaves between comfort and survival. The story also touches on some sensitive subjects – some that may cause hairs to raise. However, there were strong messages: “It is a gift in this life that we do not know what awaits us.”

My thanks to Elizabeth Strout, Random House and NetGalley for allowing me to read this advanced copy with an expected release date of September 20, 2022.

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Thank you to NetGalley for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This book is so hard for me review — on the one hand, Elizabeth Strout is my favorite author. Her writing is the epitome of perfection. It is the perfect balance between readable, beautiful, and thoughtful. On the other hand, and what made this book hard for me, this book takes the reader through the current events of the last two years, which having lived through, I wasn’t super excited to read about. Much of the joy of reading for me is escapism from the 24 hour news cycle. The parts of this book that I loved were the “backstories.” It’s these same style stories that make My Name is Lucy Barton a masterpiece (and one of my top 5 favorite books of all time). In order to really maximize the reading experience of this book, the reader should start with My Name is Lucy Barton, then Anything is Possible, Oh William!, and finally Lucy by the Sea.

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It is the early spring of 2020 and the whole world is about to shut down. Lucy Barton, a recent widow and a long-time resident of New York City, is on the verge of being stranded in a quarantined city until her first husband William convinces her to move with him to coastal Maine to ride out the Covid storm. There she begins her fish-out-of-water existence as a stranger in a place where she is not always welcome while also struggling to keep her family life together and resume her writing career. As the months pass, life does bring her some joys along with the many hardships, such as her budding friendship with Bob Burgess, a long-standing member of the community and someone William has known for many years.

Lucy by the Sea is author Elizabeth Strout’s fourth novel to feature what is perhaps her most beloved character. It is a very introspective story in which not much of consequence happens, but then that is really the point given the focus on the social isolation that the pandemic imposed on us all for so long. At the heart of the tale is the way in which Lucy addresses the grief of the recent loss of her second husband David, as well as the way she continues to reconnect with William and forgive him for his many past transgressions. If there is anything amounting to dramatic tension in the book, it comes from Lucy’s adult daughters, Chrissy and Becka, whose personal lives are a bit of a mess at the moment.

While the story falls a little short of being captivating, Strout’s writing is uniformly superb and her deep understanding of what makes Lucy tick is marvelous. This is an author who seems to be at the top of her game when it comes to insights into what makes us human and there is an admirable confidence about the way she allows Lucy’s inherent vulnerability to show through. She is even a little playful at times: there is a great line in which Becka quotes her failed poet husband in his attempt to insult Lucy by saying “He thought you were just an older white woman writing about older white women”. Of course, Strout could have been pointing at herself there, which is just one of the small surprises contained throughout this thoughtful volume.

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There’s a scene in this novel where Lucy Barton is sitting in a car at a gas station and watches a policeman sitting in a cruiser. She wonders “what is it like to be a policeman…What is it like to be you? I need to say: This is the question that has made me a writer; always that deep desire to know what it feels like to be a different person.” While Lucy is a fictional character, I can’t help but think that Elizabeth Strout might feel the same. And if she does, she certainly is successful in letting the reader know what it might be like to be a different person. I couldn’t help but think that’s why reading is such a satisfying experience “to know what it feels like to be a different person. “

For the last couple of years I’ve avoided books that focus on pandemics, Covid or otherwise. Then Strout’s newest book about Lucy Barton comes along and the time frame is during the pandemic. I couldn’t resist a new book by her and definitely not one about Lucy Barton. 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.

There are, though, shared experiences as she grapples with the pandemic and her lockdown with her ex husband William in Maine, bringing to my mind, my own experience. It’s about her lockdown with her ex husband William and their relationship, but also about her grief, her life in New York before the pandemic, her regrets, her reflections of the past, which still haunt. The past is always present in Lucy’s memories of her mother, father and siblings as is her desire in the present over her relationship with her daughters- not wanting it to be like her relationship with her mother.

I saw an older, more wiser, but maybe a more vulnerable Lucy, but still Lucy, and one of my favorite characters. Strout has lovingly brought back Bob Burgess, from a previous novel and a few mentions of another Strout character I love, which was a great surprise. (No spoiler. You should be surprised as well if you read this). What wasn’t a surprise was Stout’s brilliant story telling.

I received a copy of this book from Random House through NetGalley.

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Thanks to the publisher and author for allowing me the opportunity to read this book. The opinions contained in this review are my own.
For Elizabeth Strout fans, this book will not disappoint. It is classic Strout writing and storytelling. Stout continues on with her ex-husband and their children as the characters. She looks at how the pandemic and things such as George Floyd have affected the world and how we see it. It makes you stop and think about the world. . Great book and very timely subjects..

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Writing: 4.5/5 Plot: 4/5 Characters: 4.5/5

This third chapter in the Lucy Barton series (I am Lucy Barton and Oh William!) might alternately be titled Lucy gets through the Covid Pandemic as it extends from just before Covid slams into New York City and continues through the availability of vaccines. Lucy and her first husband, William (the parasitologist), head to Maine for what (very) naive Lucy is told will just be a few weeks to escape the ravages of Covid. William is — very simply — trying to save her life.

I’m a huge Strout fan and have read most or all of her books — I love her clean, clear writing and insight into personal experience. I did find this book a little more preachy than previous novels to the point where I liked the main character much less than I did previously. This is largely because the book took on political topics (Covid, George Floyd, the Capitol Riots) and manipulated the story to show how very correct her side of the political spectrum was in every case (the Capitol Rioters were all nazis and racists but the George Floyd riots were all peaceful; everyone in her book who did not adhere to strict covid protocols were rashly stupid and were all punished by death or hospitalization, etc.). While worrying about the state of democracy and bemoaning child labor in foreign countries, she has access to lots of money, and while befriending people with very different beliefs and professing love for her born again sister, she comes off as feeling superior to them. Of course, it is Lucy’s story and to be fair, the author does let some characters blast Lucy for just that! She even has Lucy (a writer) write stories about people very unlike herself so … overall I enjoyed the book, and it gave me a lot to think about (I think I’m still just sensitive to the many sanctimonious people I weathered Covid with, some of whom called me a “grandma killer” when I went out to run on deserted streets).

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“This is the question that made me a writer; always that deep desire to know what it feels like to be a different person.”

Reading writers who see us, who know us ordinary but complex individuals is such an emotional salve of an experience to me. Oh, what a gift this ARC was.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random house for this re-visit of an author I have read before and for whose book I rated five stars but somehow never delved into her others.

Lucy Strout’s writing is like having a magical connection with another human - so very rare and so thrilling when in life we find another who sees with precision our humanity in all of its magical detail of mundanity.

I also am a voracious seeker of books covering the minutia of daily coping during the pandemic. Lucy Strout took me back to my own muddling perceptions of early Covid days, and I loved the solidarity she made me feel about the memories.

I shall now read everything else this author wrote!

Five stars.

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*Not enough time has passed for me to want to live through the daily mind-numbing routines & horrors of the pandemic so this might have soured this book for me somewhat. That being said, it speaks to how well the author captured what was a collective feeling of dread and despair as a society all the way own to one single family unit. I was very interested to see some of the changes and growth in Lucy, William and family & the author's unique style of writing is always enjoyable to read. I have loved Lucy Barton from the start and this book helped complete Lucy's personal family story. If you are a fan of Lucy Barton you will want to read this (final?) book with the understanding that it will make you feel like re-living the early stages of the covid pandemic all over again.

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Thank you Netgalley. While reading this book, I experienced so many different feelings, including the displacement of lives during the beginning of the pandemic when no one knew what was going on or what would happen. Even Olive Kittredge makes a cameo appearance. I realized while reading this book that it helped to have read Strout's other books because in this book a community is forming. I hope Lucy returns again. She is a woman who doesn't know her own mind and stays open to see what will happen next. She lets herself not know things and be okay with that. She leaves NYC to go to Maine with William and is still a year away from the death of her second husband. So much happens in Maine where she spends the pandemic. Both William and she go through a lot with their grown children and that is where the emotional core lies.

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