The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo [in Library Journal]
Columbia undergrads Lucy and Gabe meet in a Shakespeare seminar – on 9/11. Their class – including the professor who glibly asks if the pilot was drunk when his TA announces the first tower crash – is as yet unaware of the devastating reverberations to come throughout the world. So, too, neither Lucy nor Gabe realizes the impact of their first shared smile, their seats next to each other. Their declarations of love don’t come until after graduation, and then their life together begins.
Lucy works on a children’s TV series, Gabe is a photographer. They’re in love and, for a while, in sync. Until they’re not, when Gabe takes an assignment in Iraq and doesn’t come back – for years.
Lucy marries charming Darren who adores her but doesn’t quite ever know her. They have children, make a family together, and then Gabe is back. Until he isn’t.
YA/children’s writer (“Sparkle Spa” series) and Philomel Books editorial director Jill Santopolo makes her adult debut – as both author and narrator. Her youthful voice tends toward a deliberate, measured reading that dampens rather than enhances her written words. The light indeed feels lost, the love story made less convincing with Santopolo’s pedestrian delivery.
Verdict: For a sigh-inducing story, better choose the page.