Title:  The Lovers
Author:  Vendela Vida
Release date:  June 22, 2010
Publisher:  Ecco
Pages:  240
Genre:  Adult fiction
Source:  Publisher

Yvonne, a fifty-two-year-old woman, has just traveled to Turkey, to the same town where she and her husband honeymooned twenty-six years ago.  Unfortunately, she is travelling alone, as her husband Peter passed away two years ago.  She hoped to remember her happy times with Peter while on this trip, but she ends up being haunted by the valleys of their marriage, and of their lives together.  She can’t stop thinking about all the mistakes she may or may not have made with her difficult daughter, Aurelia.  The highlight of her trip is meeting a native boy and befriending him, but when tragedy strikes, Yvonne isn’t sure she will ever heal from all life has thrown at her.

The Lovers is an absolutely beautiful book.  Vida’s writing captivated me, swept me away, took me on a magical adventure, even though the events of the story are not adventurous in the least.  The story is a quiet one, contemplative almost, as Yvonne figures out what she is doing in Turkey in the first place and navigates through it.  Vida spends a large chunk of the book inside Yvonne’s head – she is still recovering from her husband’s death, after all, trying to adjust to her life as a widow, and trying to figure out how to having fulfilling, steady relationships with both of her children.  Through all of this, Vida reeled me in with her gorgeous, flowing prose, and I could not put this book down.

While the plot is interesting enough, it honestly takes a backseat to the writing and character development.  Yvonne progresses throughout the novel and really grows as a person by the end.  I almost didn’t care about the secondary characters, or about her friendship with the Turkish child, or any of those “extras” – I was completely swept away by Yvonne’s private journey and Vida’s telling of it.

If you enjoy great writing and character-driven novels, The Lovers is not to be missed.   I can’t recommend this one highly enough.