Ellen’s Pick of the Week: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

“March is such a fickle month.

It is the seam between winter and spring—though seam suggests an even hem, and March is more like a rough line of stitches sewn by an unsteady hand, swinging wildly between January gusts and June greens. You don’t know what you’ll find, until you step outside.

Estelle used to call these the restless days, when the warmer-blooded gods began to stir, and the cold ones began to settle. When dreamers were most prone to bad ideas, and wanderers were likely to get lost.”― V.E. Schwab, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Adeline LaRue was born in March 1691 in a small village in France, the beloved and only child of a gentle wood carver and his long-suffering wife. Addie was lively and curious and often pushed the boundaries of her small world. When she was seven, she was allowed to accompany her father to LeMans where he would sell his art in the market and Adeline would see that the world is much greater than her small village. At the end of that day, her father gives her a coin and allows her to purchase something for herself, and she buys a small journal since her father had taught her to read and write, much to her mother’s indignation. Adeline’s world was enlarged  by the stories her father told her and her imagination was sparked by her elderly neighbor Estelle’s stories about the old gods she worships. Those old gods, she warned Adeline were fickle and not to be toyed with. 

Yet, the night before she is to be married against her wishes, she prays to one of these old gods for freedom and is granted eternal life with the catch that no one would remember her. Thus begins Addie’s remarkable life of adventure tinged by loneliness and sadness. And what a life she has, eventually ending up in New York City in 2014 where she meets Henry, a young man who said something she could hardly believe. He said that he remembered her and she had been forgotten by everyone else, including her parents, for over three hundred long years. 

This is a beautifully written romp through history with an unforgettable character who gets to do what mortals can only dream of, yet she yearns for a meaningful connection with someone who remembers her. It is a beautiful tribute to the essential value of story telling and art in our lives and Addie is a character I’ll remember for a long time. This would also be a great book for older teens. Highly recommended. 

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