Year of the Lucy Paperback – Feb 1 1987
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From Publishers Weekly
Mirelle Martin finds herself increasingly discouraged by marital turmoil, depleted self-esteem, and a propensity to neglect her artistic talent. Mirelle loves her husband, Steve, but his intense, volatile personality exhausts her, as do his jealous, sometimes violent, tirades. Mirelle stoically endures these outbursts, although the caustic criticism she customarily receives from Steve's overbearing mother wears her down. The elder Mrs. Martin scorns Mirelle largely because she is the illegitimate daughter of a famous singer and the Hungarian painter Lajos Neagu. To placate her mother-in-law, Mirelle conceals her provocative heritage by refusing to seek widespread public attention for her sculptures. Such subservience always outraged her friend Lucy, who, before she died, exhorted Mirelle to be more assertive. Fortunately, the void Lucy left is suddenly filled by concert pianist James Howell, a lonely man who coaxes Mirelle to self-awareness, then falls in love with her. McCaffrey, best known for her science fiction fantasy , depicts Mirelle's predicament with sensitivity and credibility, and she perceptively delineates this troubled artist's creative temperament.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Steve was a salesman and traveled a lot in his work for the company. Mirelle tried to make new friends when they moved and that is how she first met Lucy, who tried to make Mirelle stand up for herself and her art and to be someone instead of just Steve's wife. But when Steve's job forced them to move again, Mirelle couldn't stand the heartbreak of leaving more friends behind so she isolated herself. When she heard of Lucy's death, it sparked a change within her and Mirelle started sculpting again, started living again. Then she met James Howell, the handsome pianist who lived nearby and an attraction developed between them. Mirelle was lonely and Steve was so judgmental these days, she needed someone who understood the urge to create and to display talent in an artistic way. But was Mirelle ready to make such big changes in her life? As Mirelle lives through the year after her friend's death, she risks everything to make her life more meaningful...
As I expected from McCaffrey, this book is well written and the characters are quite engaging, especially Mirelle, who really blossomed in this book. I wish that we could have seem more of Lucy and I felt that Steve was a kind of shadow figure, but, for the most part, the secondary characters were fun to get to know. I didn't particularly enjoy the relationship between Mirelle & James, who became more than just friends at one point in the book. Mirelle is married and knows that Steve has cheated on her while he is away on sales trips, but she justifies her relationship with James by saying that she doesn't care about sex, it is just an act and means nothing. This really turned me off and I felt that the romance between Steve & Mirelle and Mirelle & James was shallow and neither man meant that much to Mirelle. I enjoyed watching Mirelle grow and her sculpting develop, but this book is basically a story about two love triangles, Mirelle's mother, her husband & the handsome painter and Mirelle, her husband & her handsome neighbor with history being repeated. I can understand why the book went out of print because it is a bit dated in its context and it is hard to justify a husband and wife both cheating on each other and thinking that it didn't matter.
I've always felt that this book was an interesting study of those times that many marriages go through where the partners are re-evaluating their growth as compared with the growth of the marriage. In this case, the story posits a more dramatic reconsideration than I think many go through, but the growth in the main character was done well. I liked that secondary characters had lives of their own outside their relationship with the main character, as well as the atypical careers that most of the characters held (tell me, how often do you see a concern accompianist or a sculptor in a book??).
Dated, of course by now, but even a bit dated in the mid-80's when published. Attitudes and mores more typical of late 60's-early 70's, but we don't know how long it sat in a drawer before it was published.
Satisfying at times, just don't expect dragons!