Thursday, March 26, 2015

Love Maps

Love Maps, by Eliza Factor, © 2015, Akashic Books

Sarah receives a phone call in the middle of the night from her godmother Tori. Her long-term partner Conningsby has died. His family had reeled him back into their lives as his days waned, but she can't bring herself to attend the funeral. But someone needs to pick up the portion of ashes that have been willed to her. Can Sarah?

When Sarah's sister Maya hears of Sarah's plan to attend the funeral, she tells her of a dream she had where Sarah is taken away by a man from the west. She begs her not to go, fearful it is a fateful prophecy. Sarah insists though and meets Philip. And he does indeed revolutionize her life.

Never one to believe in love, Sarah spends her days painting and dabbling in short-lived affairs. After meeting Philip, she is inexplicably drawn to him. It drives her to compulsively paint, confounding Maya and her friends. Nothing can expunge Philip from her mind though. Is it love or obsession? The line becomes a moot point. And that obsession changes everything.

Love Maps is Eliza Factor's second book and she creates vibrant characters who struggle against love. Sarah has never been interested in anything more than satisfying her urges, but she is irrationally drawn to Philip, even while she tries to avoid him. Philip has always been a loner, but can't help letting Sarah in. Despite coming from vastly different worlds, neither of them can shake their magnetic pull to one another. But Maya is a force to be reckoned with and she doesn't like Philip. Can she succeed in driving a wedge between them and force Sarah to choose which direction to take her life in?

Factor jumps between Sarah's present day less-than satisfying, single parent world and the story of her past volatile relationship with Philip which brought her there. She looks at the decisions we make in life and whether they are the right ones or not. Should we follow our dreams or forsake them for love? And where does family come into the picture? How do you choose your loyalties? And will those choices bring you happiness in the end?

We all have choices to make when it comes to love. Factor reminds her readers that love isn't always easy. We experience romantic love, parental love and familial love, but when they don't gel, what do you do? How do you map it out? Whether Sarah successfully navigates it or not seems less the point than how we perceive the journey. And for Sarah, that map is nothing like how she imagined her life to evolve.

So the question you might be asking after reading this is "That's great Katherine, but did you like it? And should I bother picking up a copy of it?". After my longer description of the book, I will leave you with a simple answer—yes.

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