Cover Image: Lucy by the Sea

Lucy by the Sea

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Member Reviews

Lucy Barton, a writer with a book launch and tour on the horizon, struggles to deal with the death of her beloved second husband, David. Her first husband, William, with whom she maintains a friendly relationship, convinces her to escape Manhattan to a rental home in coastal Maine where they’ll ride out the impending public health crisis caused by an unrelenting virus. She doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but William is a scientist who follows the news and understands the warnings. Lucy, whose life has had its share of catastrophes, including a poverty-driven childhood, a contentious mother-daughter relationship, William’s affairs, and now inconceivable widowhood, isn’t ready for another crisis. Nevertheless, she believes William even if she hasn’t been paying attention to the world around her.

Throwing clothes and a few important things in a bag (thinking it’ll be a week or two), Lucy accompanies William to a place vastly different from the Manhattan she knows intimately. There, they take lengthy walks, make friends, observe social distancing protocols, re-discover their lost relationship, and keep an eye on the news as the place they left seems to fall into a death spiral. Separated from family and friends, Lucy constantly worries about them and reaches out, feeling helpless as this one or that one contracts Covid-19 and as they lose this or that friend or family member.

Lucy by the Sea is a quiet novel of a woman trying to make sense of her profound loss, a global pandemic, the changes the country and the world go through, the separation and distance she feels from her grown daughters, and her slow realization that Covid-19 isn't going away in a week or two. Like everyone, she tries to navigate her isolation and finds ways to have human interaction aside from William. As the days pass, Lucy learns things about herself and sees people in a different light as the days plod onward. The little things she thinks about, tiny memories triggered by an errant thought or by seeing or hearing something become more important than she had ever thought.

Strout’s frugal but expressive prose recaptures the disconnection, confusion, and uncertainty of that period of recent memory wherein Covid-19 changed the way we think about so many things we took for granted and the way we think about ourselves and others. Strout writes in snippets of Lucy’s thoughts, realizations, wonderings, adding Lucy’s feelings about each as if she were making declarations with thumbs up or down, whether she was aware of something or not. Lucy has no qualms in revealing her deepest thoughts to the readers. While Lucy’s experience with the pandemic is vastly different from mine or perhaps yours, it is honest and believable, and her feelings and fears are such that Lucy will, in one way or another, resonate with the reader.

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Lucy by the Sea is the newest in the Lucy Barton series. I love Strout's writing, as it is simple but still packs a punch. I don't think you need to have read the prior books to get this one, but it would aid in understanding the characters' backstories. I loved the pandemic angle as well

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Many books have struggled to add the pandemic into their narratives ever since COVID utterly changed everyone’s lives.
This novel though, completely captures the fear, confusion, sadness and hope that became a part of all of us and our daily lives. It was almost therapeutic to read what felt like could have be my own journal at times. I have not read other Lucy Barton books, and I can see why so many have fallen in love with this character and the sensitive way she views her world.

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Lucy by the Sea is a lovely co ruination of characters from other Strout novels but it also stands alone. Taking place during the early days of the pandemic through to the first rounds of vaccinations, it is a touching portrayal of the process of finding yourself when it seems like everything else is lost, and how to care for yourself even when you are exhausted with worry about others.

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Thank you for the ARC Netgalley & Random House. I was kind of nervous to start this one because it was my first Elizabeth Strout book and I wasn't sure if I needed to have read her others to understand this one. I think it can help to have read the others, but wasn't necessary.

It was deeply sad. This book talks about COVID, aging, marriage, children, and all the things. It's well written but sad.

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As I have understood at different points in my life-that the childhood isolation of fear and loneliness would never leave me. My childhood has been a lockdown. We are all in lockdown, all the time. We just don't know it, that's all. But we do the best we can. Most of us are just trying to get through.

Lucy and her ex-husband William left New York during the beginning of Covid for Maine. Each for their own reasons. I think their personal reasons drove their characters and the plot. What makes their story so relatable is that we all were part of it. The fear of Covid. Being separated from loved ones, relationships changing, the demonizing of those that think differently than we do. Lucy felt everything and was able to articulate her journey. Lucy was very self-aware of all that she was facing and not facing.

The crazy thing is Covid revealed her relationship with her ex-husband and their daughters. The strength of those relationships and their weakness. Anyone who reads this will see a little of themselves in this awareness of our vulnerability and insecurities. I am hoping this book makes it to the next round of the Goodreads Choice Awards. Very deserving.

A special thank you to Random House Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Strout continues her story of Lucy as the pandemic grips the country. As she shelters in place with her ex-husband she discovers new friends and copes with family upheavals. A good choice for readers who like her memoir style of first person narrative.

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Lucy By the Sea returns faithful readers of Elizabeth Strout’s novels to familiar people and places. It’s 2020 and Lucy’s ex-husband William tells her to pack and come with him. Unlike Lucy, he has been paying attention to the news and knows COVID is about to overtake New York City in previously unimaginable ways. They drive up to Maine and shelter there. In this slight book, Strout manages to capture the whole of the COVID experience. The fraught solitude, the fear of New Yorkers bringing sickness with them, the flagrant fecklessness of those who think COVID can’t touch them, and the strain on relationships when people spend too much time together without relief in sight. Or,, how people can come together in generosity and compassion.

William is determined to save his family and that includes his ex-wife Lucy, He makes arrangements for his adult children and his other ex-wife and daughter to make sure they take the pandemic seriously and survive. His son-in-law is immune-compromised and when he learns that his daughter’s in-laws are coming back from Florida to move back into their house, he drives down to confront them as they arrive and insist they stay elsewhere and then turns around and drives home. He understands the dangers of COVID while so many others do not.

There is something dream-like about Lucy By the Sea. But there was an unreality to the silence and solitude of the early pandemic, before there were vaccines. A lot of people thought the shutdown would give them time to do projects they always planned to do, to write more, read more, to paint, to plant a garden, and so on. Yet there was this ennui, avid readers reported reading less, writers could not write. And Strout captures this with Lucy whose days pass in a bit of a muddle, not writing, taking walks or staring out to sea.

This is not “the” pandemic novel. I imagine that would be one more like Susan Straight’s Mecca with a family with at least one or two essential workers who have to navigate the fear of exposure or with a family that didn’t have the wealth that allowed them to flee from New York City to a rural haven in Maine. But this does capture the ennui of isolation that most of us felt during 2020.

I received an e-galley of Lucy By the Sea from the publisher through NetGalley.

Lucy By the Sea at Penguin Random House
Elizabeth Strout author site

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Writing a book set during the pandemic takes courage–and maybe even unquenchable optimism. In Lucy By the Sea, Elizabeth Strout plunks her protagonist, an author from New York City, smack dab in rural Maine to sit out the pandemic. This is a stroke of genius because it serves as an apt metaphor for the utter dissonance COVID inflicted upon the world.

Lucy’s ex-husband is the mastermind behind their exile on the Maine coast. Lucy and William have been divorced (and even remarried to other people!) but concern for their adult children and mutual kindness continue to bind them together. Lucy is caught completely off guard by the need to shelter in place, but, like the rest of us, she was sure it would all be over in a few weeks.

With apologies to T. S. Eliot, March in Maine is actually “the cruelest month,” for all is brown and bleak. Thus began Lucy’s long list of things she did not like which included staying in someone else’s house, the specific house they were borrowing (but also her NYC apartment), cold weather, snow, and doing puzzles.

For anyone with a history of trauma, the lockdown may have been doubly traumatizing, as Lucy captured so well: “My whole childhood was a lockdown. I never saw anyone or went anywhere.”

Lucy’s anxiety and her need for clarity require her to back up sometimes in order to go forward in her careful narration of the events. Distressed by the fairly recent death of her second husband and the conviction that she would “never write another word again,” Lucy weathers her circumstances by leaning into the comfort of routine and a daily walk. With the tides, her sadness rose and fell, and like it or hate it, something like normal begins to emerge in the midst of COVID chaos.

Lucy was, quite unexpectedly, very good company. I found myself sympathetic toward her frailty and amused by her quirky overthinking. If I were her friend, I would encourage her to talk about her deprived childhood when she was always cold–and then to grab a blanket. “Be warm now, Lucy. Be warm, today.”

Many thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which is, of course, offered freely and with honesty.

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If you have never read this author…BUCKLE UP! She is blunt, truthful and insightful. And this book nails them all. This is a story about Lucy and William, AGAIN! They have a history. They have been married before and share two children. But William cheated on their marriage. So, divorce was inevitable. Now, here it is years later and William moves Lucy in with him in Maine to avoid the pandemic in NYC. These two have a bond and a friendship that is hard to come by.

The first time I read this author, I thought, how depressing. I remember sending in my review to the publisher and it said “I read to escape, this book is no escape!” But, there is just something about her books that keep me thinking and I just keep coming back. Her books make you reflect on your past and sometimes that is just not a happy process. But, it is a necessary process to grow. So, once again, Elizabeth Strout is amazing with Lucy By The Sea!

This is a story about love, family, friendship, and trying to survive. I could name a thousand more astute areas of this novel. Just know, it is a novel which just might put you in a pensive mood. But everyone needs to read Elizabeth Strout! Trust me!

Need a book which will have you reflecting and just enjoying the moment…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today!

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

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It took me a few tries to get into Lucy By the Sea. I was just not ready to read a book about the pandemic. Though we are no longer locked down, we are still struggling with the virus, wearing masks, and the accompanying isolation. We are also not far enough removed from the political unrest for me to lose myself in the story. It’s just too soon for me.

However, once I finally began reading, I finished it in a day. Elizabeth Strout remains one of my favorite writers. The quiet beauty of Lucy’s relationship with William is explored further in this story. Her relationship with her daughters is complex and honest, and one particular scene with Crissy brought me to tears (no spoilers here). The setting in Maine was beautifully written, and I could almost picture the house on the edge of the cliff, as it changed throughout the seasons. And I was thrilled that Olive Kitteridge made a cameo in this story!

Despite the time period that was a little problematic for me, I will still read anything that Strout writes.

My thanks to NetGalley for an Advanced Readers Copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in any way.

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If you don't want to read co-vid books, do read this. however if you can, this will be a good one. Same Lucy and William banter. What happens when they quarrantine together in Maine during the pandemic.

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This book centers on Lucy and the pandemic. The book starts escribing Lucy as grieving for her recently deceased husband. When her ex-husband talks her into leaving NYC for coastal Maine, Lucy agrees and off they go. I think that the author did a good job describing the early days of the pandemic, the fear, anxiety, the questions - we all experienced.
However, I felt that Lucy's observations were flat, detached and annoying. There were so many things that Lucy didn't like - masks, social distancing- that the story became boring and repetitious. Adding in the author's (Lucy's) liberal political viewpoints and the offensive way she thought of people who had a different political point of view - and I really found the book too hard to take.
This book had very little plot, but a lot of internal musings by Lucy, and a lot of whining and negativity in her reflections of her life. The book was very slow moving, although little snippets of her thoughts we short and scattered throughout the book.
one thought that I wish Lucy had reflected upon during her musings were "We are all in this together." Yes, we are and we all do what we can to get through it.
I received this ARC from the NetGalley and the publisher and all opinions are my own.

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This is my first time reading a book by Elizabeth Strout. I started it on a camping trip and read voraciously in our tent until the end. It has been a few weeks since I finished the book, but it has stayed with me as few do. This is a book about relationships in the time of covid-between close and distant family, friends, and acquaintances. I was nervous to read it because covid still feels so close. Although everything was very accurately described, reading about Lucy's experiences brought me a sense of peace. I was in a different part of the country, so it was interesting to read about how other people experienced the early days of the pandemic. I highly recommend.

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Elizabeth Strout is a National treasure!

This book finds Lucy living on the coast of Maine in a rental house with her ex-husband during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is away from her beloved NYC and her two daughters. We live through the pandemic with Lucy and her husband as they re-figure a relationship under trying circumstances.

In classic Strout fashion, the writing is spare. It's as if she has considered every word, whittling them down to perfection; and it seems effortless as a reader.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of "Lucy by the Sea" in exchange for an honest review. It was wonderful to get to revisit Lucy Barton again, not to mention a couple of other characters. As always, Stout's masterful storytelling skills left me thinking about Lucy Barton's journey long after I finished reading.

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In Lucy By the Sea, Elizabeth Strout has returned to the story of Lucy Barton and her first husband, William, that was written of so well in Oh William. In this new book, we have moved ahead to early 2020, February then early March, when William suggests, no insists, that he pick her up and they leave the city “for a while” and that their daughters and families leave too. Lucy hasn’t a clue really. She hasn’t been paying any attention to much of anything it seems. And this wonderful novel picks up from there.

While set during the time of Covid, this is not really only a pandemic story. It is a story of how people adapt and adjust during a pandemic and allows for much introspection. I am in awe of Strout’s ability to continue the world that is Lucy’s into a new and different reality which requires that she look both back and forward, assessing her beliefs about herself, her family, her world and future. All of the attributes developed in the prior novels underpin Lucy’s reactions and coping mechanisms, as well as her relationships, with William, her daughters, and others she meets on this wholly unexpected, unwanted journey.

Elizabeth Strout has become one of my favorite authors. I will read anything she writes. I highly recommend Lucy by the Sea to all but familiarity with the Lucy Barton novels is recommended. If you haven’t yet read them, you have a reading treat ahead.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Lucy Barton, a 60 something character, is reunited, in a sense, with her ex-husband, William, in the latest installment of Strout's series. After having read of Lucy and her life experiences in the author's previous books, it feels like you're returning to visit an old acquaintance, not necessarily a friend.
What was especially interesting was the initial setting of the book. It was reflective of the unknowing pandemic calamity. Strout's simplistic prose captured the terror and uncertainty of the time so well. It was easy to relate to what we had all experienced thanks to such a gifted writer. There were so many situations described that made it necessary to evaluate the interactions of the characters as well as your own actions. Great read!

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I love everything Elizabeth Strout writes and was so happy to revive another Novel featuring Lucy Barton.

The writing style, the characters and the story, I am always hooked from the start of the book. Only Ms. Strout could write about the pandemic lockdowns in a way that reflected how it felt.

Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for an advanced copy. I loved it!

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Beautiful. Simply Beautiful.

Anyone who lived during the pandemic will relate to the book, and anyone who has loved Lucy Barton will love reading about this stage in her life. Memories came flooding back, both of Strout's earlier books and my own experiences during those early pandemic days. My only complaint is the book seemed somewhat complete, and I truly hope this isn't the last we see of Lucy Barton.

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.

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