Clementine would do anything for her daughter, Allegra, which is why her friends can’t figure out why she’d add the difficulty of raising her on Emerald Street. Though she guards them, Clementine has her reasons, starting with her devotion to finding her twin sister, Lucy. But when Peter, a wealthy and frequent guest at the restaurant where she works, proposes, Clementine, for perhaps the first time in a long time, seriously considers how good her future could be. However, as she well knows, happy endings rarely come easy or as planned.
Julie Houston is one of the best storytellers working today. It’s a big statement, but rarely has there been an author with her ability to consistently craft a book with so much heart.
In Looking for Lucy, that heart rests entirely with Clementine. Determined and radiant, her focus is on bettering the world for her daughter—even if it leads to some seemingly unorthodox decisions. She practically bounds from the page, tackling hardship and problems without breaking a sweat—she simply doesn’t have the time for that—before seemingly striking gold when Peter proposes.
And this is where Houston really works her magic. Peter is not necessarily the most likable character. Although not exactly overt, he needles and wheedles to get what he wants—though he still has charm. This produces such a rich dilemma for Lucy that’s both morally complicated and compelling, and her decision spirals into a legitimately shocking event that permeates the rest of the book. From there, things shift to a story of family in all of its abundant drama that spotlights Clementine as the remarkable mother she really is.
But it’s not always so serious. Houston’s back at her best with laugh-out-loud one-liners and scenarios. As Clementine shifts into her new life, new career, and new dynamic, she surrounds herself with a group of friends that will be familiar to anyone who’s read Houston’s other novels. Between their gentle ribbing and Clementine’s own run-ins with her neighbor’s animals, there’s always a light moment to cut through when things get too heavy.
Not surprisingly, Julie Houston has offered up yet another success. Here’s hoping for many more of her gorgeous novels in the years to come.
Title: Looking for Lucy
Author: Julie Houston
Publication Date: December 19, 2019
Classification: General Fiction
Note: I received a free ARC of this book through NetGalley.