Lizzie & Dante

Dial. Jun. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780593134825. $27. F
Bly (English, Fordham Univ.), writer of romances under the name Eloisa James, has written a poignant, character-driven novel about living, loving, and looking mortality in the eye. Shakespeare scholar Lizzie Delford has survived a difficult childhood, but she’s afraid nothing can save her from a bleak cancer diagnosis. When her BFF Grey, who’s a best-selling novelist, and his movie star boyfriend Rohan invite her to Elba to consult on a new Romeo and Juliet movie project, she jumps at the chance. She eschews the “beautiful people” scene and goes to the public beach, where she meets a bedraggled pooch named Lulu, owned by a cantankerous Elban chef named Dante and his precocious preteen daughter Etta. Bly doesn’t spare the tears, breathing life into each of her genuine, passionate characters, especially Lizzie, the emotional tinderbox. She also brilliantly handles some tricky relationships and takes readers on an armchair adventure to Elba.
VERDICT Fans of emotional tearjerkers, of romance, or of authors Kristin Hannah and Elin Hilderbrand will not be able to put this down.
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