The Two Lucys

Each December, there is a Gallery that has a pop-up shop between work and the train station. Today I had time to pop in without missing my train. It’s a great place to pick up books that aren’t often easily found in other bookshops. And often beautiful editions. I’m a sucker for picking up a book because of the cover. But not all books will be able to hold me with their cover once I read the blurb. The book I picked up today did. So I just had to bring it home with me: Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout.

In March 2020 Lucy’s ex-husband William pleads with her to leave New York and escape to a coastal house he has rented in Maine. Lucy reluctantly agrees, leaving the washing-up in the sink, expecting to be back in a week or two. Weeks turn into months, and it’s just Lucy, William, and their complex past together in a little house nestled against the sea.

Rich with empathy and searing clarity, Lucy by the Sea evokes the fragility and uncertainty of the recent past, as well as the possibilities that those long, quiet days can inspire. At the heart of this miraculous novel are the deep human connections that sustain us, even as the world seems to be falling apart.

Book blurb

Of course, I haven’t read the book I picked up at last year’s pop-up. I located it on my shelf when I got home to see if I had correctly remembered the title. I had. Funnily enough, last year’s book also has a Lucy: The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey.

August 1939. Thirty-year-old Hetty Cartwright is tasked with the evacuation and safekeeping of the natural history museum’s collection of mammals. Once she and her exhibits arrive at Lockwood Manor, however, where they are to stay safe for the duration of the war, Hetty soon realises that she’s taken on more than she’d bargained for.

Protecting her charges from the irascible Lord Lockwood and resentful servants is work enough, but when some of the animals go missing (and worse) Hetty begins to suspect someone – or something – is stalking her through the darkened corridors of the house.

As the disasters mount, Hetty finds herself falling under the spell of Lucy, Lord Lockwood’s beautiful but clearly haunted daughter. But why is Lucy so traumatised? Does she know something she’s not telling? And is there any truth to local rumours of ghosts and curses?

Part love story, part mystery, The Animals at Lockwood Manor is a gripping and atmospheric tale of family madness, long-buried secret and hidden desires.

Book blurb

Hmm, maybe one of these can be added to my Xmas break reading. If I’m good and get all my packing done between now and then.

And now no more book buying this year! Though, 5 books this month isn’t that bad… Surely there’s room for some more… Especially if I’m slow packing my bookshelves… 😆

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