The History of Love

Sometimes it surprises you the people who read (as well as the people who don't).

I wouldn't have had my friend Lou down as a reader - she's so full-on whenever I see her that I can't imagine her sitting still long enough.
But she told me the other day that she picks up a book any free moment she gets.

She's got four young children - all boys - so I'm in awe that she manages to find any time at all, but after putting me on to The History Of Love she's now become my new source of book recommendations.

As the title implies, the book is about love, but specifically about it as experienced by the two main characters in modern day New York.

One is Leo, a refugee from Nazi-occupied Poland 60 years previously, who is lonely and dying - but is still pining for the childhood sweetheart he came to America to find.

The other is Alma, a 15-year-old girl who is desperate to find a new love for her widowed mother.

It is also, I guess, about the love of books - it is a book within a book as The History Of Love is actually the name of the book that Alma's mother has been asked to translate by a mysterious stranger.

The plot can get a bit complicated, which I found frustrating at times, but it definitely keeps you guessing right up to the end.

And the characters are so enchanting that it's worth sticking with even when you're having trouble following what's going on.

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss