Addie La Rue has lived the last few centuries unable to leave a trace in this world. No one can remember her: not her family, not her lovers, not people she interacts with every day. She lives her life this way all due to a deal to give her freedom that she struck with a dark god known by Addies as Luc. And what is more free than living without leaving a single mark on the world? However, after 300 years of people forgetting who she is the moment they lose sight of her, a bookshop worker, Henry, remembers her. He remembers her! What does this mean for Addie and her life without leaving a mark? What does this mean for this bookshop worker? Why can he, and no one else, remember her?
The story is told nonlinearly, switching between when Addie first strikes the deal with Luke and her time exploring the edges and cracks of her new life and when she meets Henry. The bouncing back and forth between times makes the time with Henry richer. This story would not have worked as well as straightforward piece of storytelling. The moments between Addie and Luc in the past make her moments with Henry even sweeter/more impactful. By seeing the methods by which Luc twists and curls and entwines himself around Addie in ways that are at best mischievous and at worst malevolent makes the ways that Henry makes room for Addie in his life all the sweeter.
Schwab in this novel excels in describing the little moments that make life magical. In a story about a woman who seeks new experiences despite being immortal, Schwab gives a glimpse into how an immortal being might experience these little moments. Schwab’s descriptions are lush and evocative. They are poetice. I found myself lounging to exist in those little moments, those transitions, with the characters.
Julia Whelan does the voice acting for the audiobook which is also superb. Her vocal differentiation never dips into caricature or exaggeration. She has a lovely voice that is very easy to listen to.