Addie LaRue has lived for 300 years. She’s witnessed war, seen the world, and inspired artists, musicians and writers. It’s too bad no one remembers her.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab begins in a small French village in the early 1700s. This is a time when marrying and bearing children was a woman’s obligation, not an option. Adeline LaRue, Addie to her doting father, is a talented artist. Addie does not want to get married or care for children. She wants to explore, experience love and draw.
In her early 20s her parents arrange for her to marry a recently widowed father of small children. On the evening of her wedding Addie runs into the woods and prays for an escape. Someone steps from the darkness to answer. However, the gods who answer after dark are not known for their kindness. Addie is given her freedom in exchange for a curse. She’ll be forgotten by all she meets as soon as she is out of their sight. Addie can end the torment of her loneliness any time by surrendering to the dark god and forfeiting her soul.
Three hundred years later Addie is living like a ghost. Then she meets someone who can remember her. Henry can hear her long story and get to know her. However, he has his own secrets and curses are not broken so easily.
Addie’s story emphasizes art and literature as one true way to immortality. Each section of the book begins with the description of a work of art. The pieces were inspired by Addie as a way to live on and make her mark despite her curse. In reading her story, you become a part of the tale. You’ll remember Addie long after you turn the last page.
While you wait for your copy, check out these tales of magic, strong women, long lives, art and romance.
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
If you like reading about strong female leads in tales of magic and destiny, you might love The Bear and the Nightingale. Transport yourself to Northern Russia in the long ago days when it was called Rus. The people still tell tales of magic, but they are losing their belief in the spirits of the forest. Without prayers and offerings, the spirits grow weak and the village becomes vulnerable to evil.
Vasya is a young woman with the sight. She can see and speak to the spirits of nature and the house, and she cares for them in the old way. She is brave, fierce and dedicated. Vasya is determined to live a life of her choice instead of choosing marriage or a convent as a well-born lady of the time should. When evil presses close she risks everything to protect her family and her world. The Bear and the Nightingale is threaded through with Russian folklore. Like Schwab, Arden is praised for her lyrical, descriptive writing. If you love it, two more books about Vasya await you.
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
In The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Addie finds ways to make her mark on the world through art, music and literature, playing the muse to many celebrated creatives. The Strings of Frankie Presto is narrated by music itself. The story follows a gifted guitarist through his life as he inspires and influences others. He is part of the music scene of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. Frankie meets many famous musicians including Duke Ellington, Hank Williams and Elvis Presley. You can check this one out on Hoopla instantly as an ebook or audiobook.
Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Addie LaRue makes a Faustian bargain – a deal with the devil that comes at a high cost. Check out one of the most widely read interpretations of the Faust legend written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The story has been picked up and turned every which way in popular culture for centuries. Goethe’s version is still accessible and enjoyable. At its core Faust is about moral compromise. If you were tempted in your darkest moment, what would you give up to realize your deepest desire? Also available instantly on Hoopla as an ebook.
Wild Seed by Octavia Butler
Wild Seed stars a woman who has lived a very long life, locked in opposition to a powerful, immortal being. Anyanwu is a shapeshifter who has lived for centuries. She has been marrying and bearing children, and hiding her abilities from her fellow humans. Anyanwu is a healer and a wise woman.
Doro has lived centuries by stealing the bodies of others. His life’s work is to breed a population of people who have the perfect mix of recessive, magical traits. When slavers destroy the village and his work, Doro travels to a new continent and starts over.
He threatens Anyanwu’s family with harm if she does not come along and do what he says. However, he can only force her obedience for so long. The results of their battle of wills will shape humankind. There are four books in the Patternmaster series and the first is available on Hoopla instantly as an ebook.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
If you haven’t already read V.E. Schwab, check out the Shades of Magic trilogy for a marvelous introduction to her work and style. There are four worlds and a place called London exists in the same spot in each of them. Gray London is mostly bereft of magic. White London is ruled by a cruel pair of twins and magic. In Red London magic is revered and the land is ruled by a monarchy. Black London is full of bad magic.
Doors between the worlds used to allow travel, but now they are closed. Only rare individuals, Antari, can pass through. Kell is an Antari born with one eye solid black. He’s been targeted by a powerful evil because of what he can do. Delilah Bard is a thief living in Gray London. She’s stealing coins and trying to save up to get herself out. Delilah is strong, smart and utterly trapped in a grim life.
One night Delilah steals from the wrong person and her destiny collides with Kell’s. Together the two fight against the evil that threatens all four Londons and everyone living there. This is available instantly on Hoopla as an audiobook.