Review: Invincible Summer by Alice Adams

Title: Invincible Summer by Alice Adams
Publisher:Little, Brown and Company
Genre: New Adult, Women’s Fiction
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Four friends. Twenty years. One unexpected journey.

Inseparable throughout college, Eva, Benedict, Sylvie, and Lucien graduate in 1997, into an exhilarating world on the brink of a new millennium. Hopelessly in love with playboy Lucien and eager to shrug off the socialist politics of her upbringing, Eva breaks away to work for a big bank. Benedict, a budding scientist who’s pined for Eva for years, stays on to complete his PhD in physics, devoting his life to chasing particles as elusive as the object of his affection. Siblings Sylvie and Lucien, never much inclined toward mortgages or monogamy, pursue more bohemian existences-she as an aspiring artist and he as a club promoter and professional partyer.

But as their twenties give way to their thirties, the group struggles to navigate their thwarted dreams. Scattered across Europe and no longer convinced they are truly the masters of their fates, the once close-knit friends find themselves filled with longing for their youth- and for one another. Broken hearts and broken careers draw the foursome together again, but in ways they never could have imagined.

A dazzling depiction of the highs and lows of adulthood, Invincible Summer is a story about finding the courage to carry on in the wake of disappointment, and a powerful testament to love and friendship as the constants in an ever-changing world.

Review:

Beginning in 1995, Invincible Summer by Alice Adams is an engrossing novel that follows the friendships of four college friends through an array of ups and downs over the course of twenty years.

Despite the very different directions their lives take, Eva, Benedict, Sylvie and Lucien remain friends after graduation.  Eva, the daughter of a professor with Socialist leanings, casts off her father’s ideology and climbs the corporate ladder as an investment banker. Benedict, whose family is wealthy, continues on with his education as he seeks his PhD in physics. Sylvie, a free-spirited budding artist, appears destined to a great career as a painter while her brother Lucien becomes a successful club promoter. Although their friendship waxes and wanes over the years, the friends maintain contact, (albeit sporadically on occasion), as they weather the various storms that life brings them. However, as they reach different levels of success, jealousy and discontent lead to unpleasant confrontations and hurt feelings.

Instead of continuing on to grad school, Eva abandons her dream of becoming a physicist to work in finance. Working eighty hours a week, she slowly but surely works her way up the ranks but her personal life suffers as she concentrates on her building her career. Eva does find time to date, and a surprising romance leads to a long term relationship but are they destined to live happily ever after?

Benedict is a bit of a science geek but he knows exactly what he wants to do once he completes his PhD.  His life takes a rather unexpected turn when he is close to completing his degree but he still manages to secure his dream job.  Benedict makes a few missteps in his personal life but overall, he is mostly satisfied with what he has achieved although he suffers a few pangs of regret for some of his choices.

Of the four friends, Sylvie’s path in life seemed crystal clear but surprisingly, she never quite achieved the success everyone expected.  Despite her very obvious talent, her career as an artist never quite came together and she works one dead end job after another. Drinking too much and indulging in numerous one night stands, Sylvie is on a fast track for disaster when her friendship with Eva takes an ugly turn. Finally deciding to get her act together, she spends a restful summer away from London, but will this hard-won tranquility last once she returns to her regular life?

Lucien’s charm and devil may care attitude translate into a successful career as a club promoter but how long can he sustain this hard drinking, partying lifestyle?  Never taking anything or anyone too seriously, he is charismatic and well-liked but he never lets anyone get too close to him. When his world falls apart in a somewhat spectacular fashion, Lucien is rather pragmatic about his fate but will he learn from his mistakes?

Spanning twenty years, Invincible Summer by Alice Adams is a captivating novel of friendship.  The chapters alternate between the different characters’ perspectives which provides intriguing glimpses of the friends at various points in their lives.  Although they drift apart occasionally through the years, their friendship evolves and strengthens as they undergo some very unanticipated and sometimes heartbreaking, life-altering events. 

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1 Comment

Filed under Alice Adams, Invincible Summer, Little Brown and Company, New Adult, Rated B, Review, Women's Fiction

One Response to Review: Invincible Summer by Alice Adams

  1. Timitra

    Thanks for the review Kathy