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Losing the Light

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  643 ratings  ·  115 reviews
A smart, obsessive debut novel about a young woman studying abroad who becomes caught up in a seductive French world—and a complex web of love and lust.

When thirty-year-old Brooke Thompson unexpectedly runs into a man from her past, she’s plunged headlong into memories she’s long tried to forget about the year she spent in France following a disastrous affair with a profes
Paperback, 327 pages
Published February 23rd 2016 by Washington Square Press
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Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  643 ratings  ·  115 reviews

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Megan Johnson
Jan 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Book Clubs, Lovers of France
When recently engaged Brooke Thompson unexpectedly runs into someone from her past at an art showing, she is blasted back into remembering the one summer that changed everything to her. This is how we first get to know Brooke in Andrea Dunlop's debut novel, Losing The Light. Whether it was her new best friend, Sophie, whom she found she couldn't get enough of, the mysterious man they befriended, Alex, whom she also can't get enough of, or just the fact that she found herself in France in the fir ...more
Ellen ✦ Book Bellas ✦
This debut by Andrea Dunlop is a fascinating tale of friendship, first love and nostalgia. The three main protagonists - Brooke, Sophie and Alex - are all compelling and complex characters. We first meet the narrator Brooke when she runs into someone from her past. Alex is now a well-known photographer and he played a pivotal role in Brooke's life when she was in college studying abroad in France.

Not quite fluent in French, Brooke finds herself struggling with the language when she first arrives
May 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
On the surface, there's really nothing so wrong with this book. It's just another story about American women in France, reading too much into European culture as usual.

Personally, I'm tired of these representations. I'm tired of how somehow every American depicted in a book loses his/her shit the second they land in France. Be it Paris, Nice, Nantes..whatever. France is this massive, full cream culture that 'awakens' the typical American. It shocks them back to a 'real' life (as opposed to thei
Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
Fine wine, dark chocolate, a French love triangle, and the perfect best friend- at first- are only a handful of the decadences awaiting you in Losing the Light- not to mention the shocking twist that keeps this succulent debut lingering long after the final page.
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Losing the Light is a story of betrayal and manipulative friendships. Brooke finds herself in trouble with the dean of her California University when word gets out she's sleeping with one of her professors. In order to keep the scandal to a minimum they offer to send her to France for a semester, where she'll study French and other subjects in Nantes. Another girl, Sophie, is also going and though she and Brooke don't know each other, they become fast friends prior to leaving the U.S. The girls ...more
Amanda Werlein
I received this book in a First-Reads giveaway, and never have I ever been happier with a book I received. The characters in this book are perfectly gripping, and even though you can see how the drama will unfold from a mile away, you can't help but get pulled into it and have faith with Brooke that everything will work out. In a way, everything does play out different than expected, but you don't realize it until the very end.

The characters really build in this. The timeline of the book takes p
Kate Moretti
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written, evocative, and with a sense of place like no book I've read in recent memory. I'm twenty years out of college and wasn't sure I'd remember the angst of "finding myself in a foreign country" (Yep, I did it too!). But wow, I was taken right back to those years, when love seemed all consuming, when the world and my place in felt so uncertain. I loved all the characters and the writing took my breath away. But the real hidden gem of this book, which presents like a travelogue bu ...more
Wit & Wonder Books
** Copy provided for an honest review **

Andrea Dunlop’s debut novel is tale of youth, love and the seductive allure of the new and unknown. Losing the Light is about a woman remembering the friendship and betrayal of her days abroad.

Brooke Thompson runs in to someone from her past that brings back memories from a time in her life that she has tried hard to forget. This is a novel about friendship and the many nuances of the complexity of what exactly that is.

I was intrigued right from the start
Colleen Turner
Sep 13, 2017 rated it liked it
I absolutely LOVE interacting with authors...they are my (not so) secret rock stars! Imagine my delight when Andrea Dunlop herself reached out to me to see if I would be interested in reading her book...squeee!!! It felt like the perfect book for summer and I was excited to read it as my last official "summer read" of the year. While not quite what I was expecting from the synopsis and quotes on the cover, it ended up being an immersive and interesting peek into what it's like as a study abroad ...more
Debi Lantzer Stout
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 14andbeyond
While I had never heard of Andrea Dunlop, I loved the title of the book and I loved the look of the cover of this book, so that was enough to agree to read it and give you my review. Before I give you my opinion, let me tell you a little about the story:

So there are two main characters here - Sophie Martin and Brooke Thompson. Sophie is an outward appearing "all American" golden blonde California girl. Inwardly, however, Sophie struggles with some emotional issues that Brooke comes to learn alon
Lori Bree
Jan 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
What drew me to this book was the beautiful cover! Once I read it was set in France, I knew I had to read it! I took several years of French in school, and was lucky enough to travel to France, but only for a short ten days. So this book was perfect for me! I absolutely loved it. Brooke was such a great character, and I loved viewing France through her eyes. There are several times in the book where French words and phrases are used. The context generally explains what was said, but I was defini ...more
Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
In a desire to leave their troubles behind and escape what they consider provincial California lives, Brooke Thompson and Sophie Martin enroll in a study abroad program in Nantes, France. Only acquaintances in California, they find themselves forming a deep and consuming friendship in Nantes. There they meet Veronique, a charming French student and her beguiling and wealthy cousin Alex. Study and school cease to be a priority, as Brooke and Sophie become entranced with France and obsessed with t ...more
The Blonde Bookworm
Dec 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Losing the Light is a charming novel about two friends who move to France for a semester abroad. Each girl left behind troubles of their own, and they hope to forget about their problems for a while and explore a new country. The novel begins in present time and leaves the reader on a bit of a cliff hanger in the first chapter as the author takes a turn back in time to the semester abroad in France.

Throughout the entire novel, I was waiting for something totally crazy to happen. Dunlop kept me
I found Losing the Light on some blog as '10 best contemporary novels read in 2017'. But this novel was average and nothing special.
The main character, Brooke, remembers an event from her past. Story is told from her POV and many important details are missing. She was not very observant at the time, so don't expect for much about other characters and their reactions. Brooke is very self centered.
I think Losing the Light would have been much better with at least another point of view, to complete
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
The story told from Brooke's point of view leaves unanswered questions and emotions. What really happened to Sophie and if Brook had returned to France would the outcome have been different? Dunlop transports the reader into the world of a naive college exchange student introduced to the life of the rich and self-absorbed. Read my review...http://pennyformythoughts-nona.blogsp... ...more
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
We all have experienced finding a debut author who has surpassed our expectations. A rare find it is when we finish a novel, and sit a moment, reflect, and send a little prayer upward asking that the author "hurry up with their next book". Ms. Dunlop has done this to me with Losing the Light. This is not my typical read, and to be honest, I cannot even recall how or when I added this to my "to-read" list. I'm thankful something made me add it. Her writing is lovely. She has written such an emoti ...more
Caitlin Robert
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this book even while I was reading it. I felt that at any moment something could happen to make me hate it...but the opposite happened. The twist at the end made me LOVE this book. I smiled somewhat of a nasty little smile because it would appear that Sophie got the best of everyone. I didn't like her character at all but she was nothing compared to how pathetic I found Brooke to be and I reacted to the ending with a guilty little pleasure. However, I ...more
Natasha at Book Baristas
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Review on blog:

I’m currently drinking merlot and listening to La Vie Rose as I write this review because it only seems fitting. If I could be sitting in Nantes, France, I’d be there in a hot second but this is as French as I can get under the circumstances.

This book was the perfect dose of dreamy and whimsical, carefully tinged with sorrow and heartbreak. It was about the possibility of everything – the feeling before the storm, and I loved every second o
Lisa Petzold
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it
I'll read just about anything set in France. This one did a decent job of representing study abroad, but I didn't find the storyline all that believable after the twist. ...more
Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ...
I picked this book up on sale not knowing what to expect. I am not a reader of light, romantic fiction as a general rule, but the description attracted me due to its indication that the story revolves around life abroad and had some level of mystery. (I think they used the descriptors "intrigue" and "web".) If you are expecting mystery don't buy it. There is a twist at the end, but not enough to classify it as mysterious. If you are a lover of contemporary fiction with some humor and some romanc ...more
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Young college students, Sophie and Brooke, find themselves spending part of their college studies, for different reasons, in France. Beautiful and wealthy Sophie is attached to Brooke and emotionally fragile. Brooke finds herself attached to Sophie, American students in France. They begin to share their deepest secrets.

Early on, both Sophie and Brooke, befriend Veronique and her older cousin Alex. Sophie and Brooke become caught up in their new friends' world. However, at the end of their time
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
“What I didn’t know was that my sense of not being in quite the right life would never completely go away, that I would always feel as if I were waiting for something to come along and return to me all that I felt my life might have been when I was in France.”

I burned through this in one evening. There’s a lot to untangle and frankly, I don’t even know how I would describe it. Small facets of it remind me of my own time studying abroad and others are stunning aberrations.

There is something to be
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

What drew me to this book first was the cover .. it's stunning!! ... and what kept me reading was the compelling story within it's pages. You have two college girls going to France for an entire year - what could happen, right? Yea, right. What happens is worlds collide and reshape/redefine the lives of those two girls. One is from privilege and who, from all appearances, has the world at her feet and the other, not much privilege at all, yet she is pulled into - dare I say lulled by- t
Mariola Izydor
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-this-book
No Spoilers
I received this book from Simon & Schuster Canada and I am so grateful for getting it. It was absolutely captivating the way the author wrote the book. I loved everything about it. I am not one to write a 2 page review about a book that is why I am not a blogger but this book was mind blowing especially the ending, I never would of suspected the author would do such a twist and make you think what really happened.
I really hope there is a book 2 in this or at least an alternative POV
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Entertaining with a slow burn.

Most of this story is a look into the study abroad experience for two students in a small town in France. The daily living and bonding of two young American women in France (mostly Nantes and Paris) are described in lengthy flashback scenes. I would love to taste the hot fresh sandwich au jambon mentioned.

The character growth was also slow-going as it takes awhile for the protagonist to come to terms with her issues of the past and present.

Friendship, love, holiday
Amanda Miller
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was right up my alley from the beginning, as I love stories about Americans going abroad and immersing themselves in different cultures. Losing the Light tells the story of two American students, Sophie and Brooke, who while they were not really friends in their normal lives, develop an intense and all-consuming relationship quite quickly. I couldn't help imagining how well this story would translate onto the screen and I think any film distributor would be lucky to snatch it up. There ...more
Kristina Libby
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The debut novel by Andrea Dunlop is a compelling story about friendship abroad. She weaves three strong protagonists together in a way that is unexpected and challenging. The ending comes as surprise after hours of suspenseful page turning - gripping, haunting and yet, somehow sweet. The book conveys what its like to study abroad, to be embraced in a consuming romance with friends and the seemingly incoherent way that worlds can be built, fade and fall away.

Feb 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Not exactly sure why everyone is raving about this one. Yes, the characters are somewhat believable and the setting is beautiful. However, I never found myself feeling attached to Brooke or Sophie. Brooke tended to get on my nerves and Sophie was an enigma the entire time. I wasn't quite sure how the author wanted me to feel about them which is a bad sign for me. The ending also felt predictable and didn't leave me reeling like some other reviews have said. This is a solid 3 out of 5 for me. ...more
Nicole Meier
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I got swept up in this book right away! It reminds me of the Woody Allen movie, Vicky Cristina Barcelona. The writing is beautiful, as is the backdrop of France. This is a lovely spring read!
Morelia (Strandedinbooks)
Feb 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing

I can't wait to read more from Andrea!
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I'm the author of three novels and the mother of one small human. I write complex, suspenseful books about families with dark secrets and women trying to discover themselves in a world full of contradictory expectations. My stories are set in exciting and exotic locations such as French Riviera, New York City, and Buenos Aires which I hope will give readers an escapist thrill.
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