3 out of 4 stars
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Does your soul mate exist somewhere out in the universe? When the day-to-day doldrums of a long-term relationship kicks in, it is easy to imagine that somehow you missed out on the person you were really supposed to find. E. L. Neve explores this concept in the novel Looking Glass Friends.
The story begins with one of the four main characters, Neil, contemplating suicide. As he holds the gun to his mouth, he remembers the woman he connected with earlier and he puts the weapon away. Meanwhile, the focus of his affection, Ellie lives a beautiful life with her darling five-year-old son and a wealthy husband who worships her beauty.
As the perspectives of the additional characters are introduced: Fay, Neil’s wife, and Jake, Ellie’s husband, the cracks in the foundations of their relationships become very obvious. Ellie and Neil come together through emails and phone calls as virtuous friends, but soon their friendship leads to more, and soon everyone is affected.
E. L. Neve explores her topic in a deep, intense manner. There are many literary references and quotes, as that is the basis of Ellie and Neil’s relationship. I appreciated how she included first-person glimpses into the lives of the rejected spouses. It completes the picture to have their view. Fay is hurt and in despair, while Jake is prideful and conniving.
Personally, I didn’t really like either of the male characters. In the beginning, Neil was elitist with the attitude that he was smarter than everyone else. I was never convinced that his perspective changed. It seemed like he was just excited to meet Ellie on a higher mental level than his wife. Jake was the perfect package on the outside, but devious and unfaithful under his wealthy veneer. On the other hand, Ellie and Fay seemed very similar to me, although apparently, Ellie was much smarter. Ellie was a bit of a clueless character as she was unaware that her husband had a complete alternate life to the one he lived with her and their son.
The book had some typos, but none that were really distracting from the story. The style of writing was a little aloof and elitist. I felt like that reflected the views towards emotional attributes that weren’t appreciated by Neil, like loyalty and faithfulness. I am giving Looking Glass Friends a rating of 3 out of 4 stars because the topic was well explored but not altogether convincing that they had found their soul mate.
This book would be enjoyed by readers who like to take a deep dive into the ins and outs of relationships. There is some intimacy but it is not described in great detail. This and the level of content would make this book a poor choice for a younger reader.
Looking Glass Friends
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