Sometimes you read a synopsis of a book and your interest is piqued. It’s way out of your usual reading box but you think, “what the heck.” Valencia and Valentine by Suzy Krause was one of those books for me. I thank TLC Book Tours for sending me a copy at no charge for my honest review.
About Valencia and Valentine:
Hardcover: 254 Pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (June 1, 2019)
For readers of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, debut author Suzy Krause delivers a quirky, colorful story about love, loss, second chances, and what it means to truly live.
Valencia, a timid debt collector with crippling OCD, is afraid of many things, but the two that scare her most are flying and turning thirty-five. To confront those fears, Valencia’s therapist suggests that she fly somewhere—anywhere—before her upcoming birthday. And as Valencia begins a telephone romance with a man from New York, she suddenly has a destination in mind. There’s only one problem—he might not actually exist.
Mrs. Valentine is an eccentric old woman desperate for company, be it from neighbors, telemarketers, or even the funeral director (when you’re her age, you go to a lot of funerals). So she’s thrilled when the new cleaning girl provides a listening ear for her life’s story—a tale of storybook love and incredible adventures around the world with her husband before his mysterious and sudden disappearance.
The stories of Valencia and Mrs. Valentine may at first appear to have nothing in common…but then again, nothing in life is as straightforward as it seems.
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About the Author:
Suzy Krause is a Canadian writer and music lover. Like Valencia, she has worked as a debt collector, and like Mrs. Valentine, she likes to tell stories. She writes about her life at www.suzykrause.com. Valencia and Valentine is her first novel.
Connect with Suzy
My Opinion of Valencia and Valentine:
Valencia and Valentine is a tricky book to try and review without spoiling the story. It’s the story of – don’t be shocked now – Valencia and Mrs. Valentine; two women who are sharing the stories of their lives. Valencia is young and looking forward and Mrs. Valentine is old and looking to her past.
Valencia works at a call center as a bill collector. She is OCD and worries constantly that she is going to burn down her apartment building by leaving her stove lit. She is having a pseudo-romance with one of her creditors, or at least she thinks she is. She is afraid of flying and of highways so she lives a very sheltered life. Her therapist is trying to get her to do something bold for her upcoming birthday. Very bold – she wants Valencia to fly somewhere.
Mrs. Valentine is very old and appears to be suffering from dementia, She talks to people who aren’t there. She has recently hired a young lady to clean her house and has started telling this new visitor the story of her life. How she met her beloved husband, how they traveled and how he just disappeared one day.
This was definitely a book that required attention. It also took a little bit to get into and to understand the author’s rhythms and writing style. But it’s worth the effort as you will find yourself lost in the stories of Valencia and Valentine. The frustrations of finding love and understanding. The facts of aging and loss. It’s not always easy to read because of the truths laid bare by the characters. Valencia and Valentine is the kind of book that keeps you thinking long after you have finished reading. I also think it would be well served by a second reading with that fuller understanding of the ending in place as you start again from the beginning.
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