October 16, 2015

The Idea of Love by Patti Callahan Henry

Publication Date: June 23, 2015

Source: Vine

As we like to say in the south: "Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story.”

Ella's life has been completely upended. She's young, beautiful, and deeply in love—until her husband dies in a tragic sailing accident while trying save her. Or so she'll have everyone believe. Screenwriter Hunter needs a hit, but crippling writers' block and a serious lack of motivation are getting him nowhere. He's on the look-out for a love story. It doesn't matter who it belongs to.

When Hunter and Ella meet in Watersend, South Carolina it feels like the perfect match, something close to fate. In Ella, Hunter finds the perfect love story, full of longing and sacrifice. It's the stuff of epic films. In Hunter, Ella finds possibility. It's an opportunity to live out a fantasy – the life she wishes she had because hers is too painful. And more real. Besides. what's a little white lie between strangers?

But one lie leads to another, and soon Hunter and Ella find themselves caught in a web of deceit. As they try to untangle their lies and reclaim their own lives, they feel something stronger is keeping them together. And so they wonder: can two people come together for all the wrong reasons and still make it right?

“…But the idea of something and the real thing aren’t the same.”

“Like love,” he said. “It’s more of an idea than a real thing. It’s something that wants to be bigger than it is. Maybe it’s just an idea we carry around until we don’t.”

The Idea of Love opens just when our hero and heroine meet at the lowest point in their lives. Ella is reeling from a shocking betrayal and Blake is struggling to make a professional comeback after his last two films have flopped. They are both so damaged from past personal relationship failures that the “idea” of love is what motivates them, rather than the real thing. Ella is hanging onto the idealized version of her husband and their marriage and ignoring the flaws, while Blake is madly searching for the perfect, storybook love story he can translate to a winning film script. Intent on their respective obsessions of what love is supposed to be like, Ella and Blake tell each other lies about themselves, which at first start out as fun and innocent until they develop feeling for one another.

Love is a gap filler … The hole inside. You know, that place we talked about before, the hole in the soul. The place we are always trying to fill.”

To my surprise, I devoured The Idea of Love in one afternoon. Ella and Blake aren’t the most innocent of characters; they both have their faults. Ella seems too na├»ve and weak at first and Blake a too-smooth, jaded Hollywood type. But as the novel progressed, they grew on me until I was rooting for both of them to get their fairy tale ending. They let themselves be vulnerable, not just to the idea of love, but the real thing.

Patti grew up as a Minister’s daughter, learning early how storytelling effects our lives. She grew up spending her summers on Cape Cod where she began her love affair with the beach, ocean, tides and nature of the coast. Moving south at the tender age of twelve, she found solace in books and stories. While attending Auburn University, she met a southern boy who later proposed on Daufuskie Island, South Carolina, next to a historic lighthouse overlooking the Sound. After earning her Master’s degree in Child Health, Patti worked as a Clinical Nurse Specialist until her first child was born.

Patti is a full time writer, wife and mother living with her husband and three children in Mountain Brook, Alabama.

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