The Invisible Life of Addie Larue

contains sensitivities such as suicide, famine, wartime, neglect and emotional abuse. 

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
V. E. Schwab
Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Romance, Adult
560 Pages
Published October 2020
Thank you to New South Books
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★★★★★

When Addie LaRue makes a pact with the devil, she trades her soul for immortality. But there's always a price, the devil takes away her place in the world, cursing her to be forgotten by everyone.


Addie flees her tiny hometown in 18th Century France, beginning a journey that takes her across the world, learning to live a life where no one remembers her and everything she owns is lost and broken. Existing only as a muse for artists throughout history, she learns to fall in love anew every single day.


Her only companion on this journey is her dark devil with hypnotic green eyes, who visits her each year on the anniversary of their deal. Alone in the world, Addie has no choice but to confront him, to understand him, maybe to beat him.


Until one day, in a second hand bookshop in Manhattan, Addie meets someone who remembers her. Suddenly thrust back into a real, normal life, Addie realises she can't escape her fate forever.

Adeline Larue leaves her legacy upon the world in glimpses, the twenty three year old woman defined by the constellations bestrewn across her nose. Her life begun at eventide of the seventeenth century in a small riverside community in France. Adeline dreams of the freedoms beyond the confines placed upon young women, choosing adventure, freedom and independence. 


Adeline is betrothed to a widower within the small town, losing his wife and now searching for a woman to care for his four children. Adeline's friends have long since married and created families of their own while Adeline discovered the beauty of her world. On the eve of her arranged marriage, Adeline prays to a higher being for escape, to abscond her small community and chase freedom into the wide unknown. Darkness responds to her distress, bargaining an agreement. Her freedom in exchange for her soul. Lucifer, the handsome stranger with piercing green eyes has granted Adeline with immortality, ensuring only he will remember her. 


The nonlinear narration fluctuates between Adeline's life as a young woman throughout Europe, enduring conflict, wartime, revolutions, lovers both male and female and famine and present New York City. Traversing three hundred years. Adeline is a remarkable young woman, the devastation and heartbreak she's endured throughout the centuries is entirely distressing. A lonely, isolated existence and although Adeline has influenced artists over various generations, no one will remember her beyond her immortalised constellation of freckles. 


The essence of The Invisible Life of Addie Larue is human interaction and the ability to leave our legacy upon the world. Throughout our lives, we imprint on one another and for the immortalised twenty three year old, her imprint remains in the creations of former lovers in galleries all over the world until she happens across Henry Strauss managing a small, independent bookstore in New York City. Henry lives on the fringe of society, preferring his own company although feeling thoroughly alone. 


Twenty eight year old Henry Strauss has endured addiction, loneliness, relationships and heartache, feeling directionless and unmotivated. Identifying as pansexual, both of Henry's long term relationships have ended in heartbreak and a series of unsatisfying sexual encounters followed. Henry's feelings of worthlessness is palpable. He experiences the world profoundly and throughout his narration, we discover the source of Henry's loneliness and distress, until he happens across Adeline. 


Adeline and Henry's relationship is one of companionship rather than a consuming romance, providing one another with a sense of solace and intimacy. They found one another through circumstance and become an aspect of their respective journeys. 


The writing is absolutely immaculate and breathtakingly envisioned. From the desperation of Adeline as a young woman burying her meagre possessions along the riverbank and praying to a higher power to rescue her from the small town monotony, the Seine during the revolution, wartime, Venice and London to present New York City. It's wonderfully atmospheric with a beauty and breadth rarely seen in literature, infatuating and categorically enchanting. 


The Invisible Life of Addie Larue is phenomenal, a masterpiece of modern literature. 

13 comments

  1. Happy New Year, Kelly!

    I have this book requested from my library but there's still 6 weeks to go till I can get my hands on it. No surprises here, considering the author of the book. VE Schwab continues to amaze.

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    1. Happy New Year Joy! So lovely to see you again!

      I haven't read many of her titles, this only being the second but it was absolutely phenomenal. It's one of those books that speaks to you beyond the pages and I was absolutely enchanted.

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  2. You certainly took my breath away with your descriptions. I have experience Schwab's writing before, and can totally see her pulling this story off in a most stupendous fashion.

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    1. It far exceeded my expectations, just the sheer beauty of her writing is breathtaking!

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  3. I like this sentence a lot "The essence of The Invisible Life of Addie Larue is human interaction and the ability to leave our legacy upon the world."

    I loved and felt for Addie as she tried to be remembered and I thought the ending was satisfying in that aspect.

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    1. I felt the same Amber. The ending was perfection and it also could hint at a sequel sometime in the future. Fingers crossed. It would certainly make for an incredible duology.

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  4. Oh wow - I've read really mixed reviews for this but you have me putting it on hold at the library.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I had read a few critical reviews over the weeks which are also completely valid. My own experience was incredibly different though I'm thrilled to say, it was amazing and I savoured each and every word.

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  5. I just skimmed since I'm actually getting ready to start this one, but I absolutely cannot wait after reading your review! I love Schwab's writing so much.

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    1. She's phenomenal. I must admit, I used to wonder why she was so widely praised and beloved, before reading any of her novels and now I completely understand why. My goodness, this was everything! I can't wait to see what you think of it!

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  6. Oh yay I am so happy to see that you loved this! I have had a mixed history with Schwab but this sounds so appealing to me, so fingers crossed that I love it as much as you did! Wonderful review as always!

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    1. Thanks so much Shannon! This is only the second novel of hers that I've read and it was breathtaking. Being adult, it has a much more mature feel and incredibly sex positive as well. It's brilliant!

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  7. I have seen a lot of opinions about this book, and I am so glad you loved it! It is one I do own because of book box. I have ups and downs with Schawb's work but I am hoping this can be one which works out as well for me as it did for you. I like the sound of the relationship being one of comfort more than anything else.

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