By Robert Germaux
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Goodreads Rating: 4.75
Genre: Semi-Biographical Romance
Publication Date: August 26th 2020
Format Read: Ebook
Amazon Summary: Love Stories is a semi-biographical novel about my wife’s experiences during the six weeks she spent in Europe prior to her senior year in high school. The book bounces back and forth between that summer of 1966 and 1989, the year we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary, and also the year that, in my narrative, Cynthia reconnects with one of the boys from that summer in Europe, someone who suddenly reappears in her life after two decades of silence.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review
Love Stories is a semi-biographical story of Germaux’s wife’s early adult romances. His wife, Cynthia, went on a study abroad program during a summer in high school, and quickly captured the attention of multiple men in the program. The story time-skips between her time in the program and present day, where she reconnects with one of these men, Dean, and they reminisce about the time that has gone by.
The story also features conversations between Germaux and his wife, most of which take place on the phone since “Bob” is out of town for a conference that weekend. Their relationship is clearly highly adoring, has sexual chemistry, and is made to last. It is these interspersed phone calls that remind me that love is real, and that it will last through hard times. I thought that it made an interesting counterpoint to Cynthia’s relationship with Dean, which was clearly one sided without much buy in on her part.
Still, even though the high school relationship wasn’t a fairy tale, there was still romance there, and it was cute to read about the way two people can manage to care for each other so deeply after so short of a time. It was also fun to read the individually romantic stories of the times Dean (and his rival, Jim) attempted to woo Cindy with a mix of simple and lavish gestures. The story is centered around romance and joy and happiness, which is something that I was in dire need of when I picked up this book.
The format which this book was written is highly unique. As previously stated, it alternates between the past and present timelines. The past timeline is a bit more “traditional” in the way it is narratively structured. Each flashback is written like a little short story that sucks you in immediately. The present day timeline is structured more like an interview. It is high dialogue, with most of the narration around it just used to set the scene (the restaurant, the outfits, etc). I personally enjoy reading interview-type content, and so this was something that appealed to me while reading it, but it is a highly unique element that takes time to get into the flow of.
The characterization of Bob, Cynthia, and Dean was very strong throughout the book, to the point where I feel like I know all of them personally. They came alive as such vivid and kind characters that I wished I had them in my life personally. I had the pleasure of interviewing Germaux a few years back and I can safely say that he seems like a great person all around.
With the world quite literally falling apart, this story managed to bring a smile to my face and provide a bit of escapism. It’s an easy read that you could breeze through in a day, which I very nearly did when I read it. I would highly recommend for anyone who needs a bit of joy in their life right now.