The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Harper Collins recently asked their Twitter followers to describe the perfect beach read and the answers surprised me. I assumed the suggestions would be for romantic comedies and women’s fiction, and while they were among the suggestions, there were just as many mentions of thrillers, crime stories, tales of friendship and coming-of-age stories. There were as many fantasies and science fiction books as there were contemporary and historical fiction books. 

Readers simply wanted a great story; the genre was secondary. 

And so this month, I ignored genre and picked a book that I thought might be a relaxing and fun read for the beach, the cottage, or anywhere else you go to unwind. 

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by V. E. Schwab, is an incarnation of the crowd-pleasing Faust myth. This storyline never gets old!

It begins in 18th century France, and rather than be forced into marriage (and be a possession), Addie LaRue makes a deal with the devil; she trades her soul for freedom, but of course, there’s a twist. Addie doesn’t belong to anyone, but nor is she remembered by anyone. To her family and friends, she’s a stranger. For 300 years she travels Europe and the United States and although she meets new people, the moment they turn away from her, they forget her. And so she exists until one day, she meets Henry. He does remember her, but why? And when they fall in love, what will the devil have to say about it?

This is a novel that lends itself to a leisurely read. If you prefer action-packed stories, you might find the beginning a bit slow because Addie doesn’t meet Henry until the 25th chapter. If you stick with the book to the end (and I hope you do), you’ll discover why there’s such a long lead in. However, if you’re swinging in a hammock listening to the birch leaves rustling overhead, the beautiful line writing and long vivid descriptions will be right up your alley. 

Audiobook Review

The audiobook is narrated by the incredibly talented Julia Whelan. If you like listening to stories, be sure to give this one a try. Julia narrates many of today’s bestselling stories, so if you like her work, you’re in luck!

About the author 

Valerie Francis

Valerie Francis is a bestselling author, literary editor, and podcaster with a passion for stories by, for and about women.

Each month, Valerie recommends books from literature’s best female authors. Selections come from every genre because women write, and read, in every genre. The Women’s Fiction category offers up some terrific novels, but these days there’s a strong female presence in thriller, horror, crime, and other genres traditionally dominated by male writers. No matter what the publishing companies may think, in the 21st Century, Women’s Fiction is whatever we want it to be.

stories for women, by women, and about women