Cruel Beautiful World

By Caroline Leavitt

Cruel Beautiful World: A Novel by [Leavitt, Caroline]

4 out of 5 stars

The title of this book fits it perfectly. The words are cruelly beautiful. You will feel all of them.

It is 1969, the times of hippies, Manson, free love. Lucy is 16 and longs for something more. She lives with her older sister Charlotte and Iris, the woman who took them in when their parents tragically died. They have their little family with all the quirks that come with a family. Charlotte has always been very protective of Lucy. Lucy, the wilder one, the not as bright one. But Lucy longs for more and she finds it with her teacher, William Lallo. They begin an affair and make plans to leave together. They run off one day, leaving a note for Charlotte and Iris saying she is fine. Will takes her to a remote little house. He teaches at a progressive school and she stays home alone. It starts to get to her and she begins wandering, wandering right into Patrick and his fruit stand.The turbulent times in the world also bring turbulent times into their lives. This was not the life Lucy planned in her 16-year-old dreams. Be careful what you wish for. Life goes on for all of them and things change as they always do. Iris and Charlotte always hoping they will hear from Lucy. And then one day, Charlotte does and things change for all of them.

The story is told in alternating voices which so worked for this book. I felt as if I actually got to know all three of the women and that made the story move so well for me. I loved all three. No spoilers but I am holding out hope for Charlotte and another character. In my mind, it works. And a little twist with Will’s story, made me think twice about what was true and what wasn’t.  This is not just a story about a wild teen running away, it’s about a family. A family thrown together who made it work. Great read.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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