The Story So Far by Jane Eklund
I enjoyed this novel following the long relationship between a young librarian and an older, famous, but closeted, author of historical romances. The librarian is writing down the story many years after the start of their romance and reflecting on how they have both changed. This is a gentle, humorous, love story that goes beyond two people. 'The Story So Far' encompasses adult friendships, found family, cultural changes, queerness and aging with affection and wit.
Our narrator and The Author are not given names, lending the book the feel of a tell-all. The author's background as a poet is also clear in the lyrical descriptions and mental monologues peppered throughout the book. The work is fiction and not autobiographical, but feels authentic and personal. 28 years separate the two women and the dynamics of their relationship shift over time, the book is sectioned off by decades as we follow our narrator's career, her other romantic relationships and the family she forms with her gay neighbor Jeff, his partner, and other friends.
What 'Story So Far' does best is show how love influences you. What love gives and what it takes away. The characters were so real and the voice of the book so honest it was hard to put down - not something I usually say about character-driven novels.
There are some quirks to the book, throughout her life the librarian has inner conversations with Socrates, Hildegard of Bingen, and Suzanne Pleshette, which could have been developed more. I loved that there are some running jokes about the literary-named dishes she is taught to make by her lover Max and her housemates. I wish there had been more to those scenes as more than ever it is refreshing to read about happiness.
A great find, I'm so glad to have been given a copy of this book by the publisher.