Love Nouveau is a beautifully written new adult novel that rocked my heart and soul. It details the budding relationship (complete with sweet romance, passion and pitfalls) between Ivy and Phoenix.
Ivy, a new college graduate born into a life of privilege, is a somewhat depressing character with serious flaws. She is constantly bullied by her over-bearing ice queen of a mother and her bitchy snob of a sister, but she never sticks up for herself. While some readers might not feel very sorry for her after finding out why her mom and sister treat her the way they do, I despised the way she was treated and couldn’t help but root for her. (Maybe it’s because I believe people deserve forgiveness and second chances.)
Right before Ivy is about to choose her post-college path, she meets Phoenix, and they are instantly attracted to each other. The inexplicable attraction is totally believable. It’s the kind that makes you feel like you NEED to be near someone, an undeniable connection that MUST be explored. It’s the beginning of young love. *sigh* Before you know it, Ivy and Phoenix become emotionally involved with one another, communicating largely via text and phone conversations. However, given Ivy’s past mistakes and the way she is used to being treated by her mom and sister, she is weary of allowing Phoenix into her heart.
The characters in this story are all flawed in some way. A few make terrible decisions and some choose to grow and change, just like in real life. Something else I love about this story is the way Berry scattered poignant insights throughout. There were times when I reread portions just to soak in the words.
Here are some of my favorites:
“…you aren’t rich until you have something that money can’t buy.”
“Even after being repeatedly pushed away from the shoreline, the water always comes back, beating its rocky edges, smoothing them out, wearing them down over time. It’s kind of romantic—after an infinite number of rejections, the water doesn’t give up. Nature wills it to return. Beyond its control, it just keeps coming back. It’s a bit like love.”
“…lies are truths that you convince yourself are real.”
“…as you get older you learn that time will make a fool out of everyone. But in the end, only love will make a fool out of time.”
If you like stories centered around young, can’t-live-without-you love and can appreciate a few twists and turns that get in the way of the HEA you’re hoping for, then you should give this book a shot. I will definitely be reading part two: Love Abstract.
Disclosure: I attended a book signing a few months ago in Waterloo, Iowa, where I picked up an autographed copy of Love Nouveau and had the pleasure of meeting B.L. Berry. My opinion of this book has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that she is an absolute gem.