4* Review: Of Light and Love – E.V. Bancroft

A heart-warming tale of rediscovery; a passion left untouched, tainted by the blackest depths of grief. Glimmering fireflies light a pathway to love and new adventures, if one can only let go of the past.

Award winning E.V. Bancroft’s latest novel, Of Light and Love tells the touching story of renowned yet bereft artist Carolyn ‘Caro’ Trent-Parker, as she struggles to come to terms with the loss of her late wife. No longer painting, and with funds running low, Caro has no choice but to take in a lodger.

That lodger is none other than Laura Kingston-Lopez, a mature student pursuing her masters in animation. Cheerful and seemingly happy-go-lucky, Laura couldn’t be more different than Caro if she tried. But appearances can be deceiving as Laura is in fact hiding her own heartbreak, unwilling to become yet another chess piece in someone else’s game.

“Trust is earned one truth at a time and lost in a heartbeat with one careless act or thoughtless action.”

E.V. Bancroft, Of Light and Love

There’s a lot of creativity in this book, encompassing both traditional methods of creating art and more modern, technology driven approaches; both of which I know very little about. The author does a great job of not only explaining these artistic methods, but also really enabling a reader to feel the expressive flow of creativity and the emotions of each artist on the page.

Caro was my favourite main character; her depth of sorrow and torment were palpable right from the very start. I enjoyed watching her move through the stages of grief, to finally embrace new opportunities and new love, even though at times her doubts threatened to keep her in the depths of despair. It felt like watching a beautiful flower blossom after an exceptionally harsh winter.
Caro’s cat Artemisia, is the perfect ice breaker between Caro and Laura; an endearing bundle of fluff acting as the insistent go between for two hearts and minds full of trepidation.

There are two things that kept this review of Of Light and Love at a four star.
In contrast to Caro, whilst I could understand the premise of Laura’s struggles, there was something missing for me; I just didn’t feel that emotional connection to her character. Whilst Laura is a likeable character and is supposed to be the opposite of Caro, I found at times she reads as being too light-hearted making it difficult to fully believe in her heartbreak. I think a deeper exploration of the difficult times in Laura’s life might have levelled the emotional playing field somewhat.

Towards the end of the story, Caro’s long time best friend and agent Rebecca, concocts a scenario which is self-serving to say the least. Yet when Rebecca’s actions come out in the wash, I found Caro’s reaction particularly understated. I feel most readers would expect a best friend come agent to put a friend’s shot at love (especially having lost their first love) before their own financial gain, and yet Rebecca does the exact opposite, completely serving her own interests. When Caro eventually finds out, her almost none reaction and quick acceptance of events, just didn’t ring true for me.

Of Light and Love is a touching and heartfelt opposites attract, age gap romance, exploding with creativity and hope after heartbreak. Despite their frequent misgivings and misunderstandings, Caro and Laura’s story is a guaranteed happy ever after.

I received an ARC of this book from Butterworth Books, in exchange for an honest review.

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