Book Review – The Light We Lost

The Light We Lost
By Jill Santopolo
Penguin Random House
Rating: *****

Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fated—perhaps they’ll find life’s meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts.


Most books you read provoke some kind of emotional reaction inside of you, this book cut me to the core, it was so beautiful and raw and I was so emotionally invested in it that it made me cry. I don’t think any book has ever made me cry before, this one is definitely a tear jerker.

This love story is full of passion, desire, regret, sadness and frustration. What I found unique about this romance novel was the way Jill Santopolo told it through the eyes of one character, Lucy. Lucy re-tells the love story between herself and Gabe, to Gabe. Each chapter moves forward through time as she re-tells her life with and without Gabe. From meeting him in 2007 the day the 911 disaster happened, to falling in love, moving in together, breaking apart and everything in between and following on through the years to come. Lucy pours her heart out, reminiscing the good times, the bad times, wondering what he was doing, what he would think of her life and her choices. Even when they were miles apart she gravitated back to him, even small decisions she always had him on her mind, a love so strong and deep she could never let him go.

This isn’t just a soppy love story, it is deep and emotional and I felt like it was about life’s choices, regrets, priorities and what ifs. What if he never left? What if she did this, what if he thought that? Would their story be the same? I think Gabe and Lucy regret some of their choices in life, though they never really say that they do, I think that’s because when they made decisions they felt valid and what they were prioritising felt right at the time. I think this book shows how complex adult relationships and life can be and even though you are wanting Gabe and Lucy to be together as a reader I understood why they couldn’t at times do this.

It seemed clear to me that Lucy and Gabe were “soul mates”, I loved how the different types of love were described in such a thoughtful and beautiful way.

“Some relationships feel like a wildfire they’re powerful and compelling and majestic and dangerous and have the capability to burn you before you even realise you’ve been consumed… some relationships feel like a hearth-fire they’re solid and stable and cosy and nourishing.”

At times I just wanted Lucy to be happy with her marriage to Darren. I wanted her to forget Gabe and just feel so in love with the beautiful life she had made for herself. She had everything most people only dream of. A great job, a lovely home, loving and sweet husband and a wonderful family. But when you read this quote from the book I think it really made me understand the different types of love. She still loved Darren and loved her life but he wasn’t her Wildfire, Gabe was. I don’t think many of us get to have the all consuming Wildfire love. But obviously if you do it seems pretty special. 

I couldn’t put this book down, this is probably one of the only romance novels I have ever liked. It is one of the most beautiful, compelling and emotionally raw books I have ever read. The story swept me away and left me catching my breath. An intense love story that I won’t forget I highly recommend this book.

Have you read The Light Between Us? What were your thoughts on this love story? I would love to know. Thanks for reading. Katie x

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