A smart, obsessive debut novel about a young woman studying abroad who becomes caught up in a seductive French world—and a complex web of love and lust.When thirty-year-old Brooke Thompson unexpectedly runs into a man from her past, she’s plunged headlong into memories she’s long tried to forget about the year she spent in France following a disastrous affair with a professor. As a newly arrived exchange student in the picturesque city of Nantes, young Brooke develops a deep and complicated friendship with Sophie, a fellow American and stunning blonde, whose golden girl façade hides a precarious emotional fragility. Sophie and Brooke soon become inseparable and find themselves intoxicated by their new surroundings—and each other. But their lives are forever changed when they meet a sly, stylish French student, Veronique, and her impossibly sexy older cousin, Alex. The cousins draw Sophie and Brooke into an irresistible world of art, money, decadence, and ultimately, a disastrous love triangle that consumes them both. And of the two of them, only one will make it home.
While I had never heard of Andrea Dunlop, I loved the title of the book and I loved the look of the cover of this book, so that was enough to agree to read it and give you my review. Before I give you my opinion, let me tell you a little about the story:
So there are two main characters here – Sophie Martin and Brooke Thompson. Sophie is an outward appearing “all American” golden blonde California girl. Inwardly, however, Sophie struggles with some emotional issues that Brooke comes to learn along the way. Then there is Brooke who finds herself in trouble with the dean of her California University when her professor confesses that he’s been sleeping with Brooke. The school avoids a scandal by allowing the teacher to change schools and sends Brooke to France for a semester, where she’ll study French and other subjects.
While Sophie and Brooke start out as mere acquaintances, they quickly become friends while still in California prior to the France trip. When they arrive in France, Sophie and Brooke are staying in separate “host” homes, but they spend most of their time together at school and then after school while socializing at the the local restaurants, bars and night clubs.They both agree that the best way to learn French and the ways of France is to remove themselves from socializing with the other Americans at school and instead they begin to immerse themselves in the French culture. They meet Veronique during a a conversation class and she invites them to a party at her house.
Sophie and Brooke attend the party at Veronique’s and meet her cousin, Alex, who is a 25-year old photographer from Paris. The girls continue to socialize with Veronique and Alex on a regular basis and even meets their family. While Brooke knows she is falling for Alex, she feels that maybe she doesn’t have a chance with Sophie around, since she’s the golden girl and all.
At this same time, school and study both stop being the priority for the girls. The weekends they spend in Paris and Cap Ferrat, and all the glamour and wealth – begin to weave their spell on the girls, but as readers learn, the magic comes to an end with results that could be disastrous. There’s a shocking twist in this book that only those who read the book will have the good fortune to learn (since I don’t write spoilers)!
I will say first that I do not speak French. I wasn’t a fan of all the French being spoken in the book, since I obviously didn’t know what it meant unless they made it so obvious a monkey could understand it. That being said, the French didn’t overtake the book and the plot remained intact and well written. Andrea Dunlop has created a very captivating world for her readers luring them into the world of these very engaging and well developed characters. There are several unexpected twists at the end and Ms. Dunlop leaves readers trying to decide some of the relationship situations between Brooke, Sophie, and Alex, and she helps remind us that friendships are not always easy and clear-cut, and that this thing called life has it’s ups and downs. The book was a fun read and I could see taking it to the beach for a nice long afternoon read.
About the Author:
Andrea Dunlop lives in her hometown of Seattle, Washington, where she works as the social media and marketing director of Girl Friday Productions. Losing the Light is her first novel.
I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the publishers and BookSparks in exchange for this post, which is my honest review and unbiased opinion.