Thursday, June 26, 2014

All I Longed for Long Ago Was You by L.C. Moore

Please note I received a copy of this e-book in exchange for an honest review.  Originally posted at Romance Reviews Magazine
My Experience:  B+
Synopsis:  This is a story of entangled souls: it's a story of bitter partings and sweet reunions; of the big bands of the 40's and rock 'n' roll of the 60's; of New York City tenements and provincial French villages; Long Island suburbs and Vietnamese jungles. Teenage Odette DuJardin and her family suffer under the repressive Vichy regime in Nazi occupied France. Across the Atlantic, seventeen year old Dan Palazzo struggles to exorcise his demons and escape the poverty of post depression New York City. Twenty years later the lives of two young adults collide as they attempt to unravel their mysterious bond and discover their connection to the past. Follow these entangled souls, caught in twisted passageways of time and see how they navigate the waves of war and how their souls endure, inseparable.

This is a love story with Americana as the anti-hero.  L.C. Moore flirts with cultural ideals of the good ole days and does nothing to destroy them, only bring them more fully in to the light.  Four young people, coming of age, in two different timelines give a weathered diary feel to the chapters that enhances the experiences of dislocation adolescents and young adults often know better than their parents.  Add the backdrop of war and the tension increases....

Like a Leo Kotke album, each suite is uniquely its own yet still part of the larger whole.  There are just enough clichés to make the eras accessible for understanding or nostalgic, depending on your age. Each perspective is skillfully used to prevent the characters from becoming trite.  There are no secondary characters.  Everyone is a precise note or extended measure for the suite.  We know some of these people.  They're our parents, grandparents, cousins - maybe a neighbor, maybe ourselves.  They are the folks we might not think of as knowing anything about Real Life.

The evocative, tightly written prose disturbed me even as it held me captive.  Choppy sentence fragments set the mood with conversational narrative that carries us away, back to where we've never really been, but thought we knew so well because we studied history and watched the Discovery Channel.  Jumping from one timeline to another with no pattern I could establish made the book seem a bit longer than it actually was.  I wanted more from each chapter, more for each character; they felt like my family long before the middle of the book. And it doesn’t take a genius to know the ‘happily ever after’ in war stories is seldom white picket fences and orange blossoms, so my tension increased with each turn of the page.

I did not want to finish the tale but I could not not know.  It made my stomach burn, literally, as I rolled to the last forty pages or so.  This is not a romance in the traditional sense.  It is a condensed epic tale, spanning generations, the conclusion bittersweet.  I would not have chosen this as a book to read but that's why I enjoy reviewing for Romance Reviews Magazine, I'm exposed to different explorations of what is a good romance.

I have two quibbles.  First, the entanglement theory don't work for me, personally.  The descriptions of dreams and emotions felt were too vague in comparison to the strength of the narrative's other aspects.  However, I welcomed the thoughts of what if...  all the same. I still found the individual stories enthralling, so in the end, the entanglement did not matter, at least to me.

Second, there were many editing issues in my copy of the text that I did not convert {ex: "Roomer was he was repeating ninth grade for the third time." "there was more darkness then light..." “My general approached to things was….”} I hope these issues have been corrected in the final version.  Unfortunately, in such a tightly written book they Stand Out, especially in key moments and jarred me brutally from the tale.  Even so, I recommend All I Long For Long Ago Was You as a thoughtful weekend read that will remain with you for days.

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