Title: Valencia and Valentine
Author: Suzy Krause
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publish Date: June 1, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
My Rating: 3/5
For readers of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, debut author Suzy Krause delivers a quirky, colorful story about love, loss, second chances, and what it means to truly live.
Valencia, a timid debt collector with crippling OCD, is afraid of many things, but the two that scare her most are flying and turning thirty-five. To confront those fears, Valencia’s therapist suggests that she fly somewhere — anywhere — before her upcoming birthday. And as Valencia begins a telephone romance with a man from New York, she suddenly has a destination in mind. There’s only one problem — he might not actually exist.
Mrs. Valentine is an eccentric old woman desperate for company, be it from neighbors, telemarketers, or even the funeral director (when you’re her age, you go to a lot of funerals). So she’s thrilled when the new cleaning girl provides a listening ear for her life’s story — a tale of storybook love and incredible adventures around the world with her husband before his mysterious and sudden disappearance.
The stories of Valencia and Mrs. Valentine may at first appear to have nothing in common… but then again, nothing in life is as straightforward as it seems.
Valencia is a 35-year-old debt collector. Mrs. Valentine is an 87-year-old lonely widow. Both are somewhat obsessed with death.
Valencia and Mrs. Valentine’s stories are told with alternating points of view. Valencia is stuck in a job she doesn’t love, has no friends, and struggles with her crippling fears and OCD. She wants to change her life, and starts to make strides in that direction. Along the way, she starts a romance with a man she talks with on the phone at work and she becomes friends with a new coworker. Mrs. Valentine is lonely, and talks to anyone who gives her the chance – neighbors, telemarketers, and her new cleaning lady. She loves to tell her stories, and is excited the new cleaning lady wants to here about her life.
This was my pick for Amazon’s First Reads in May 2019. I wasn’t a big fan of this book. I found the plot too convoluted, yet predictable. The characters both have fairly sad lives, and some parts came off as quite dark. I was expecting something a little more heartwarming and light. A bittersweet novel of love and loneliness.