The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

I had had this book recommended to me and it seemed just the sort of story that I would like with a fantastical/historical bent with a hint of darkness and romance: it had all of the elements of a good read. And I am pleased to say that it did not disappoint.

Addie LaRue wants a life with more than the proposed husband with whom she is paired; she does not want to live in a village and pursue a life of drudgery but wants to explore the world and be stimulated. However, in 18th century rural France, there is not much scope for a woman of her birth to do anything but be a wife and mother. Not that there is anything wrong with this but for Addie, its limitations in her eyes make her despair and so, in an ill-judged (or well-judged, depending on how you see it) meeting with the devil, she makes a deal whereby she can live forever but no-one will remember her – she instantly fades from their memory once she is out of their sight.

Liberating, yes? Well, in one sense, it must be great to feel invisible and to live a life on the periphery where everything feels new. However, Addie soon learns that this is a lonely existence where intimacies shared one evening are forgotten by the morning and whilst, she can return to the same places and meet the same people and hold their shared experiences close to her heart, she is never recognised; the closeness is never remembered; her life is ineffectual.

That is until she encounters Henry who does remember her and she gets to sample again the delight of having someone know her again; someone who is not the devil who visits her every year, as she could end this life and find peace from ignominy as long as she is prepared to give the deal-making devil, known to Addie as Luc, her eternal soul.

I really liked this book. The devil is beguiling, sensual and an ephemeral “bad boy” who ticks all of the boxes for “attractive male who really should be avoided but of whom it is difficult to steer clear”. Addie is a strong female character who loves powerfully and with loyalty and following the ripples that she makes throughout history add an extra entertaining layer.

Imaginative and well-plotted, I would recommend this.

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