The Joys of Love: Book summary and reviews of The Joys of Love by Madeleine L'Engle

The Joys of Love

by Madeleine L'Engle

The Joys of Love by Madeleine L'Engle X
The Joys of Love by Madeleine L'Engle
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2008
    272 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

During the summer of 1946, twenty-year-old Elizabeth is doing what she has dreamed of since she was a little girl: working in the theatre. Elizabeth is passionate about her work and determined to learn all she can at the summer theatre company on the sea where she is an apprentice actress. She’s never felt so alive. And soon she finds another passion: Kurt Canitz, the dashing young director of the company, and the first man Elizabeth’s ever kissed who has really meant something to her. Then Elizabeth’s perfect summer is profoundly shaken when Kurt turns out not to be the kind of man she thought he was.

Moving and romantic, this coming-of-age story was written during the 1940s. As revealed in an introduction by the author’s granddaughter Léna Roy, the protagonist Elizabeth is close to an autobiographical portrait of L'Engle herself as a young woman — "vibrant, vulnerable, and yearning for love and all that life has to offer."

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"What I liked: Having something new to read from Madeleine L'Engle, and something light at that--a good summer romance.

What I'm not so sure about: whether this story and style (lots of dialogue, almost like a script) will ring true to teens today.

An aside: The style of the story reminded me of the few paperback romances my mom saved from her own teen years in the 1950s .... Harmless romance, but not a lot to think about." - The Reader's Carousel.

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Madeleine L'Engle (1918–2007) was the author of many books for children and adults. She was perhaps best known for the Time Quintet, especially A Wrinkle in Time, which won a Newbery Medal, and her books featuring the Austin family, including the Newbery Honor Book A Ring of Endless Light.

Written in 1942, L'Engle fictionalizes some of her own experiences with summer theater in the 1940s, as described in a foreword written by L'Engle's granddaughter who read the unpublished script as a child in 1978.

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