Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Lost Coast Literary

Lost Coast Literary
  Lost Coast Literary
Author:  Ellie Alexander
Publication Information:  Sweet Lemon Press. 2022. 278 pages.
ISBN:  173739152X / 978-1737391524

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "Jane Eyre?"

Favorite Quote:  "...the gift of good writing, good storytelling, was allowing readers to temporarily inhabit someone else's soul. It's the only time in our lives when we actually live and breathe through another person's lens. Crack open the pages of any book and suddenly we're transported into a different world. My perspective had been expanded and altered thanks to the many pages of historical fiction and poetry that I had devoured. Stories had helped shape me, written by authors who had vastly different experiences than mine. Yet these writers welcomed me i not their worlds and allowed me to glimpse (even briefly) what life was like through their perspective. Books had shifted my understanding, offered me an opportunity to see myself in a different light."

Emily's mother died when Emily was young. Life has always been Emily and her dad. Her father has been estranged from his family for a long time. Emily has glimpses of memories of love, of a family, and of a home. However, she does not know what of those memories is real and what a figment of a child's imagination. It has always been her and her dad.

Emily has landed her dream job as a book editor in New York. Books and stories have always been her life line.

A message upends her world. Her grandmother has died. Emily must travel to California to receive her inheritance. Emily finds herself traveling to her grandmother's estate in a small town on the California coast.

As you might expect, she discovers that things and the past are not quite what she has understood them to be. "The way to keep people alive is through their memories. How could I keep someone alive who I'd never been given the chance to remember?" Emily discovers a family, a home, a town, a childhood, and an unexpected hidden power.

This book ventures into family dynamics and the hurts that family can inflict, the charm of a small town, romance, and the life altering impacts of childhood events. Unexpectedly, this family story also ventures into magical realism. As the marketing for the book starts off, "When an editing pen has the power not only to change stories but also to change lives." The interesting thing about this premise is that the intent of an editor is not to change an author's story but rather to help the author realize their vision for their story. This premise is definitely a different take on "editing."

The book is a sweet story about unpacking the past and discovering home. It goes about where you would expect it to. Editing lives does not have the same impact as editing a story, and first edit rarely has the impact that you might expect it to have. Stories get told, history becomes understood, relationships get mended, and new directions get discovered.

What I do love about this book is, well, the books! It is a love letter to books and the power of stories to help us see our lives, to survive the events of our lives, and to see voice given to thoughts and feelings we may not be able to articulate ourselves. The title and that premise is what draws me to this book and keeps me reading until the end. Something unexpected would have helped the story go farther, but a sweet story in a beautiful setting.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

1 comment: