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The Joys of Love

3.51  ·  Rating Details ·  824 Ratings  ·  157 Reviews
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 dash ...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published April 29th 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
From what I can tell, this was one of Madeleine L'Engle's first novels she wrote, but it was not published until after her death in 2007. It is largely autobiographical; Madeleine spent several summers on Nantucket participating in the theatre, in that same era directly following World War II. She also fell in love during one of those summers. This is really a light coming of age story from a different era. It doesn't contain the magic of her childrens' books, and I have not read any of her full ...more
Nov 03, 2009 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a story that Madeleine L'Engle wrote in the 40s (and 50s?) but didn't get published. It was published posthumously last year.

The story follows Elizabeth Jerrold, an orphan whose parents are rather a mystery to the reader until a good way through the book. She has graduated from Smith College with a degree in chemistry to satisfy her aunt, but her true passion is the theatre. After graduation, she manages to get a scholarship to be an apprentice in a summer theatre, where she makes some c
I thought I'd read just about everything that Madeleine L'Engle had published, so I was astonished to see this book turn up when I was searching for something else entirely (which is usually how things work for me).

Madeleine L'Engle died nearly three years ago at the age of 88. The Joys of Love was published last year by her granddaughters. This is a very early novel, based on a short story she wrote in 1942 at about the age of 24. She reworked the story into a novel in the early fifties and re-
Chloe Hennessy
Maybe it's only for my love of Madeline L'engle; perhaps combined with my love of theatre. None-the-less there came a point in this novel that I simply couldn't put it down. There were many moments when I was so over taken by even the simplest of scenes that I forgot where I was, truly forgot I was even reading about Elizabeth Jerrold, and thought I was in that moment there where she was. I understand why L'Engle had difficulty publishing it. Not because it is a terrible book, but because the st ...more
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
I enjoyed reading this book! L'Engle has such a unique writing style; she can take a side-character with a toothache, and make their toothache be a philosophical commentary on the fantasy vs. reality of emotional entanglements, weaving it so perfectly into the storyline that you barely realize she's doing it. As always, brilliant writing!

The setting is a 1940s summer theater company where Elizabeth is an apprentice, learning to act. She has a crush on the young director, Kurt, but is best friend
Mar 06, 2010 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Madeline L'Engle wrote this early in her career, but it's only now being published. And, yeah, it's a little rough compared to the writer she becomes, but, oh, it still has so many things I love about her writing: Passionate characters, fascinating discussion about art, real emotion.

And the romance! At first, I wasn't sure if I was really on board with the pairing I was supposed to be rooting for, but, in the end, it left me with that wistful, "Yes, that's what I'm looking for in real life." You
I discovered a Madeleine L'Engle book that I'd never heard of before this spring, so of course I snatched it up. I just got around to reading it on vacation, and it doesn't disappoint--if you like Madeleine L'Engle's other YA fiction, which I do.

I marked this as historical, but it's not really--it's set in the 40's, and it was first written in the 40's. It wasn't published until recently, after Ms. L'Engle's death, by her granddaughters, which is why I hadn't heard of it before.

The story follows
Debra Goodman
Aug 02, 2014 Debra Goodman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book, Elizabeth is an aspiring actress - from the South - who gets an internship with summer acting company in upstate New York. Although she is on scholarship, she struggles to make ends meet and depends on her aunt for her room and board. In the theater, she makes close friends, has many acting experiences, and comes to be recognized for her talent. She falls in love with the star male actor - while her friend Ben is fairly openly in love with her.

This is an interesting book - a perio
Apr 12, 2014 Susie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always loved this author-A Wrinkle in Time was probably my introduction to science fiction/fantasy. This book is especially precious as it was a hidden treasure and only published a year after her death.I found the introduction by her grandaughter only added to the story. I love that L'Engle supported her writing carreer by acting. This story started as a short story in 1942 and then became a book that somehow never was published. I loved the story of an aspiring your actress apprenticed ...more
Apryl Anderson
Jul 27, 2011 Apryl Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice, entertaining read...and like a typical L'Engle, there's so much more beneath the surface.

L'Engle's tales seem so real because, for the most part, they are. I have to wonder which parts, but that's my own curiosity. It's simple enough to read and enjoy, and wonder if our heroine will end up with the cad.

There's something very real about a L'Engle novel. I like that. I wish I'd have known about these books (beyond 'Wrinkle'). Perhaps she could've given me the courage to realize that there
Sophia Roberts
Mar 01, 2012 Sophia Roberts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
A lovely sensitive book about growing up and following one's passion. Yes, the heroine is naive (as we all were, once). But it's well written: beautifully observed and very telling. And on several occasions I laughed out loud! ‘The Joys of Love’ will be little too quaint for contemporary teenagers, but the adults – woman in particular - who can remember growing up in America in this era (the summer of 1946) should enjoy it.
Aug 23, 2009 Josiah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I have never lived before...Until this summer, I did not know what it was to be alive."

—The Joys of Love, P. 4

"If you're too happy about anything, fate usually gives you a good sock in the jaw and knocks you down."

—Elizabeth Jerrold, "The Joys of Love," P. 91

I certainly think that this book is one of the hidden gems of the 2008 young adult literary year that I wish more people would end up reading.
Madeleine L'Engle's prose flows elegantly and wraps around the characters and events of her
Mar 13, 2011 Annie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, young-adult, romance
After reading "And Both Were Young" and recently thinking about a passage in "Camilla" that I've always loved, I figured it was time to finally read "The Joys of Love." As the world's greatest Madeline L'Engle fan, you'd think that I would have picked this up the moment it hit the shelves. A lost L'Engle book! One of her first! But I was worried that the reason it was released after her death was because she didn't think it was good enough to print in the first place, and the estate just wanted ...more
Jun 21, 2010 Abigail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, if I could have given 3 and a half stars, I would have. I'm honestly not into anything resembling "romance" when it comes to books, but since I've loved all the other L'Engle I've read, I figured I'd give it a go. Now I want to clarify my rating. As compared to literature at large, I give this closer to four stars, but comparing L'Engle to herself I give it three. It's very obvious that it was written early in her career.

What I loved:

I loved the main character, Elizabeth. I was amazed that
Dec 26, 2013 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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Dec 12, 2014 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Marie Robinson for

Elizabeth has big dreams of becoming an actress. She loves everything about the theater and feels born to be a part of it. Her aunt, who has raised her, wants a more conventional life and disapproves of Elizabeth's ambitions to become an actress.

Taking place over a mere four days, Elizabeth is forced to learn a lot about herself, about her career ambitions, and about growing up. Her aunt disapproves of the lifestyle Elizabeth has adopted while work
Ellisa Barr
Most times when I read a book I am focused on the story, rather than on the author but this book made me feel closer to Madeleine L'Engle, like I've peeked through a little window into her life.

This is a sweet, coming of age story, loosely autobiographical, that was published after the author's death, although it was actually one of her earliest written works.

I stumbled across it in the library and the first disc was missing, so I didn't realize until I finished it and looked it up that this wa
Jun 15, 2008 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 20, 2011 Jes rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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A very satisfying way to start my summer reading. I liked this book, very much. I was so pleased to find this similar in style, quality, and subject matter to the early L'Engle books that I love, particularly The Small Rain. And it was delightful to identify two characters from her other novels in this one. Amazing to think that parts of their stories were sitting in a box for decades.

I am puzzled by the idea that this should be a YA novel (both on L'Engle's part and her publisher's). It is very
Aug 01, 2015 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a charmer! This sweet story made me smile throughout.

Although I'm not sure when exactly the wonderful Madeleine L'Engle wrote this book--I believe it was in the '70s--it takes place in the '40s, so the dialogue is very much like an old movie of that era. The characters call each other things like, "You nut!", and I can easily see people like Rosalind Russell and Eve Arden and Jimmy Stewart playing some of the main characters.

It's a very gentle, naive young adult novel about a 21-year-old El
Oct 17, 2008 Angie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, there's probably no L'Engle book that I wouldn't give 5 starts to, because I love her. This was fun because it's an early, early one for her that was her last to be published. There's a really nice introduction from one of her granddaughters that made the reading of it feel even more personal. Growing up on her books, I always felt like I knew Madeleine personally (even thought I'd have a daughter named Madeleine when I was young) and the introduction made me feel that even more. When I reco ...more
Jun 18, 2008 Melody rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What really struck me as I was reading this early L'Engle is how her recurring themes were fully formed already. Also, her love of the apt quote is very evident. The story is, in fact, a little clunky and moralistic- but it's also a L'Engle, so it transcends this slight clunkiness and pulls one into the characters. The story is nearly universal as a coming-of-age tale, and the moment when Elizabeth notices her life has begun made me well up. I marvel anew at L'Engle's skill, if this is an exampl ...more
Patricia Ahl
Apr 16, 2012 Patricia Ahl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fiction, favorites
The Joys of Love is the story of a young actress in her first professional debut at a small summer theater. Elizabeth is dealing with typical youthful problems, an unwise crush, disproving family members, money problems, but with Madeline L'Engle's masterful writing and unique vision what could be an ordinary cliche of a novel turns into a beautiful and timeless account of youthful hope and ambition. The story is set in the 1940s or 50s, but like so many L'Engle novels it is honestly difficult t ...more
Apr 16, 2008 Kricket rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the joys of a new madeleine l'engle book being published after her death! i cannot seem to review l'engle without using the word "quaint." but it was. quaint. 20 year old elizabeth is spending the summer as a theater apprentice on the shore. there's a delightful campy feeling, with all the theater employees living in a big cottage and going to get hamburgers at diners and whatnot. unfortunately i'm not that keen on stage people myself (chalk it up to my high schools insufferable "theatre troupe" ...more
Ellie Sorota
Madeleine L'Engle is one of my favorite writers. Such a favorite that I make it a point not to read everything she's written so that there's always a little L'Engle left to discover. This novel, published posthumously, exposes L'Engle's talent for writing in a contemporary setting with an enduring voice. It's a coming of age story that explores young love amid the sophomoric relationships of the world of theater. As with all of her female protagonists, Madeleine L'Engle imbues herself into the ...more
Jun 10, 2009 Helen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Madeleine L'Engle is an amazing writer. That having been said this book is way less than amazing.

I wonder if she was still alive would it ever have been published. Her granddaughters are responsible for its publication and I have to ask if it was sentimentality or the thought of more dollars to be made for her estate?

They said this was something she had written when she was very young and would let them read (when they were young). She never pushed for its publication. When you read it you can s
Aug 14, 2009 RuthAnn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Would recommend: Ehhh...

I am a huge fan of Madeleine L'Engle. I collect her books, and I have high expectations for what I should get out of them. The Joys of Love was just okay for me. The characters were lovely, and I was eager to find out what happened to them, but it wasn't as good as her other books are.

I had a dim view going into it because it was published posthumously; I couldn't shake the feeling that if Madeleine L'Engle wanted it to be published during her successful, prolific career
This is a simply story, set in the world of 1940's theater without really entering it. The focus of the story is so much about Elizabeth that it doesn't have room to really immerse the reader into the theater world of that time, or even the world at large of the era. It's very much a character study and Elizabeth is a simply character, in part because she's young and innocent, and it's that movement out of innocence that this story is about. It's simple and it's straight forward and it alludes t ...more
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Madeleine L'Engle was an American writer best known for her Young Adult fiction, particularly the Newbery Medal-winning A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and Many Waters. Her works reflect her strong interest in modern science: tesseracts, for example, are featured prominently in A Wrinkle in Time, mitochondrial DNA in A Wind in the Door, organ regener ...more
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“But my memories are like a fire in winter—whenever I'm cold I can warm my hands at them.

“The joys of love...last only a moment. The sorrows of love last all the life long.” 23 likes
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