Book Review: The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

The Light We LostbyJill Santopolo
When you give yourself over to love like that, your heart will get bruised. It will get battered. But you will also feel invincible and infinite.
What is it that allows a first love to weave itself deep within your heartstrings? The Light We Lost follows one woman, Lucy, as she grapples with the romance and heartbreak of love and the decisions life requires of her. Beginning on September 11, 2001 we see how one devastating event alters the lives of a nation and, on a smaller scale, the lives of two people, Lucy and Gabe.
The world felt like it was cracking in pieces, like we’d gone through a shattered mirror into the fractured place inside, where nothing made sense, where our shields were down, our walls broken.
Brought together by this tragedy- or what some may even call fate, they spend the evening together treading on the edge of something that will prove to be more than either could expect.
You squeezed my fingers. “Thank you for making this day about something more,” you said. “Lucy. Luce. Luz is light in Spanish, right?” You paused. I nodded. “Well, thank you for filling a dark day with light.”
With a youthful exuberance they enjoy all that the beginning of a relationship has to offer- a passionate romance which inspires each to reach farther for their dreams. They dive in headfirst without regard for the consequences.
But at that point, there was nothing I could have done to change our trajectory— yours, mine, ours. I stand by that decision. Even now, I stand by it. I’ve never felt as alive as I did those five months we lived together. You were life-changing, Gabe. I’m glad we made that choice. Free will, despite our fate.
Their deep desire for each other is not enough to quell their ambition, however. They bravely part ways putting their future together on hold. Gabe sets forth as a photojournalist in the Middle-East amidst the rising danger and conflict while Lucy begins her career as a children’s television producer in New York. Is is enough to rely on fate or must they do more to secure their future?
“The thing about roads,” I said, “is sometimes you happen upon them again. Sometimes you get another chance to travel down the same path.”
As time and geography put space between Lucy and Gabe, life moves forward and introduces opportunities both romantically and professionally. One weekend at the Hamptons adds an unexpected trajectory to Lucy’s life- Darren. He is rooted and steadfast, everything Gabe is not but like Gabe he falls head-over-heels for Lucy.
Darren was my Old Nassau experiment. The longer we were together, the more I loved him, and the better it got.
 Darren and Lucy work hard to build a life together, to build a love that lasts. But for Lucy there is always a lingering shadow of the love she once had and she is tempted by its spark, its flame, and its lasting burn.
Love does that. It makes you feel infinite and invincible, like the whole world is open to you, anything is achievable, and each day will be filled with wonder. Maybe it’s the act of opening yourself up, letting someone else in— or maybe it’s the act of caring so deeply about another person that it expands your heart.
When circumstance forces Lucy and Gabe together, Lucy is left with a decision that tests her heart, her compassion and her willpower. But first, she must tell her story, as a kind of solace, maybe, or as her penance. As her choice looms she relives every detail, full of tenderness and anguish and we read as it is told until the heartbreaking end.
You taught me to look for beauty. In darkness, in destruction, you always found light. I don’t know what beauty I’ll find here, what light. But I’ll try. I’ll do it for you. Because I know you would do it for me.
Read voraciously.
A review copy of this title was provided by G.P. Putnam via Netgalley

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