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Reviewed by Alex Ndirangu for Readers' Favorite
Élise is born into a world ravaged by political violence. She watches as the authorities brutalize her parents and all she can do as a baby is wail and run. Her guardian angel scoops her up and takes her to safety. By age forty, Élise is the picture of robust health on the surface, but deep inside she suffers from anxiety and stress. She has had fibroids and endometriosis and is childless after four miscarriages. Élise is still single and haunted by the tragedies of her childhood. But her life is about to start a completely new chapter. It all begins when she meets a charismatic solar technology entrepreneur called Aren during a hike. Aren asks her out on a date, and this is the beginning of a beautiful love story that we can only wish goes on forever. Their lives will take a new twist when Élise unexpectedly falls pregnant. How will Aren react when he finds out his girlfriend conceived at age fifty? Will he prove himself as a man and take full responsibility as a husband and father to their daughter even at 63? Find out in Aren and Élise by Ettenig Sayam.
What I liked most about Aren and Élise was the author's originality in her writing. The inclusion of a foreign language was educational for me, and it supplemented the writing style with unusual artistic beauty. I also liked how Ettenig Sayam injected subtle humor into the storyline, which left me with a smile. One instance that made me laugh was when Élise said that she thought it was strange how her body decided that "it was time to close shop and not conceive" despite all of the fertility treatments she had undergone. Élise's ability to find and express humor in even the most difficult situations made her my favorite character in the book. I liked how the author used captivating suspense to guide the reader through the storyline and connect all the dots without deviating from the plot. This book depicts a classic case of making lemonade out of life's lemons.