Looking Glass Friends

Looking Glass Friends

A Novel Inspired by Real Love Letters

Fiction - General
454 Pages
Reviewed on 12/22/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Author & Audio Book Reader, Producer

Tal Boldo is a self-published novelist and audio book reader and producer. She likes to publish under pseudonyms that relate to her stories. Her love story, Looking Glass Friends, was published under E. L. Neve, an anagrammatic tribute to the real letters which inspired the novel. Her middle grade fantasy, The Sound and the Echoes, was published under Dew Pellucid (Tal being the Hebrew word for Dew). The novel was a 2013 Juvenile Fiction Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards, and an Honorable Mention recipient in the 2012 Los Angeles Book Festival. Her production of Looking Glass Friends is her first foray into the world of audio books.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers' Favorite

A unique and refreshing love story is chronicled in Looking Glass Friends: A Novel Inspired by Real Love Letters by E.L. Neve. The relationship that grows between Neil and Ellie begins with her gift to him of a book, Atlas Shrugged. Neil worked in the local bakery that Ellie frequented, and she felt compelled to share this work with him. This book literally changed Neil’s life in many ways. Through email communications, they discovered a connection not felt in each of their marriages. The deep level of sharing and understanding between them did not exist elsewhere in their lives. Ellie is devoted to her little five-year-old son and thinks it would be devastating to disrupt his life. Whether this soulmate relationship survives at all, or if it will culminate in a permanent relationship, is the main theme of the story.

E.L. Neve has written a compelling story in Looking Glass Friends. The focus is on the meeting of minds, rather than a physical sexual relationship – and that is truly refreshing in today’s romantic genre of books. The quality of the author’s writing is superb and thought-provoking. The development of the four main characters – Neil and Ellie, and their spouses Jake and Fay – is certainly intriguing. Likewise, the concepts of what qualities a meaningful love relationship should entail is interesting to mull over while reading this novel. This is a novel to be cherished and considered, not read through quickly - a true gem in the contemporary world of love stories.

Mamta Madhavan

Looking Glass Friends: A Novel Inspired by Real Love Letters by E.L. Neve is a beautiful fictional love story between Neil and Ellie and has been taken from the author’s insights, perceptions, and experiences. Neil is married to Fay and is unhappy in the marriage and moves through his days with a frozen soul. The spare room in their house is his private sanctuary and his secret gateway to imaginary worlds which he refuses to share with his wife. Ellie, on the other hand, finds her life changing after reading the books of Ayn Rand which her husband Jake had recommended to her. Ellie hands over Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand to Neil, whom she meets at Bake4U, and the philosophy in the book brings about a change in him. He finds himself being drawn to Ellie and is keen to strike up a friendship with her. He then writes a letter to Ellie and leaves the book and letter at Bake4U. When Ellie picks up the book and reads the letter, though she is unable to recollect what he looked like, she feels an unusual connection with the stranger, something which could not be explained. Will Ellie be able to leave her husband and her five-year-old son and find happiness with Neil?

The book beautifully highlights the concept of soul mates, one’s mirror image, or your looking glass friend, as the author terms it, through this story. The meeting of Ellie and Neil finally, after connecting through letters, is expressed vividly and aesthetically, touching the hearts of readers. The story also speaks about the importance of being happy and not sacrificing their lives for the sake of kids. The story of Neil and Ellie gives hope and courage to millions of couples who live in unhappy marriages for the sake of their kids. The four characters, Jake and Ellie, and Neil and Kay, are well portrayed and they come across as real and tangible. The story is passionate and filled with desire for loving the right person or the looking glass friend, as the author terms it, and is definitely uplifting for all those who are looking for their soul mate.

Melissa Tanaka

Looking Glass Friends by E.L. Neve is a novel inspired by real life love letters. The story revolves around two unlikely friends and the love story that unravels between them. Neil is a man troubled by depression and guilt, who toys with the idea of suicide and has seemingly withdrawn from his wife and the world around him. In contrast, Ellie is a highly intelligent young woman who loves Ayn Rand novels. The two cross paths at the bakery where he works and she visits weekly, and Ellie buys him a copy of Rand’s Atlas Shrugged as a form of thanks after he sells her the cream puffs he had set aside to take home. Like so many books do, the novel changes Neil’s life and he reaches out to Ellie via a letter scrawled on yellow notebook paper. They find kindred spirits in one another; despite both of them being married each finds they no longer connect with their spouse, and Ellie and Neil grow close over the course of their correspondence.

With rich language and vivid description, fans of romance should look no further than Looking Glass Friends to quench their thirst for passion and matters of the heart. One of the things that I loved about this book was it reinforced that a relationship and the bond that you create with your partner should make you strive to be better, to never cease learning, and above all, to grow together. In addition, Neve forces readers to confront uncomfortable truths in regards to the consequences of their correspondence, a realistic touch that grounds readers whilst they fall for the love story of Ellie and Neil. For instance, while Neil is happy because of his e-mails with Ellie, his wife Fay is conflicted; although she is happy that he is slowly coming back to life, she knows that it is not her doing, but another woman’s. This sense of inner conflict repeats itself in other characters in the novel, as they must decide whether or not the chances they take are worth the risks they pose. The author wrote an incredible story that tugged at the heartstrings without making it seem outlandish or over dramatic.

Arya Fomonyuy

Looking Glass Friends: A Novel Inspired by Real Love Letters by E.L. Neve is a compelling romance, a brilliant, gripping story featuring a man and a woman who discover an alluring attraction to each other by exchanging emails. Ellie and Neil are both married. Not having known each other before, they start an email conversation around a book and, not long after, they begin to feel drawn to each other. They have never felt this way before. Can they take the risk of throwing away the lives they have painstakingly created for the freedom of an uncertain love? There is a lot at stake in this book and a lot for readers to enjoy.

E.L. Neve’s writing is thoughtful and evocative, a style that will appeal to many readers, especially those who love poetry and reflective thinking. The plot is well-paced and the author creates a lot of suspense that arouses interest in the reader. I enjoyed the fact that the characters are well-sculpted; both are already married and the fact that they would have to leave their families or risk the lives of their families for the powerful stirrings of their hearts helps in intensifying the conflict.

The reader feels the emotional and psychological tension that builds up through each page. The setting is also fascinating and I enjoyed the fact that the author used letters in his style to build plot and characterization. Looking Glass Friends: A Novel Inspired by Real Love Letters is a novel that captures the reality that many people experience in a compelling manner — getting hooked on virtual space. The question is: What does it feel like to meet the person who’s been hidden behind the keyboard? An entertaining and richly construed story.

Divine Zape

“The man lying on the bed did not care that his room had grown dark. In the dying sunset the gun in his hand became a logical conclusion to his thoughts, an inevitable means to his bitter end. He had sworn an oath to himself two years ago, and the words walked with him like a second shadow ever since: ‘I swear not to draw out my life. When disgust and boredom are all that’s left, I’ll end this.’” Thus begins the story of an atypical romance with twists that will surprise readers.

Looking Glass Friends: A Novel Inspired by Real Love Letters by E.L. Neve features powerful and compelling characters, exploring the anatomy of human love from a very unique perspective. Two married people meet online and start discussing a book through email exchanges, but what starts as a literary exchange soon becomes a medium through which they see and feel themselves in each other, until the attraction becomes irresistible. Can they take the chance to step beyond the virtual exchanges?

Well-crafted and compelling, this novel is a great success on many counts. First off, readers will fall for the characters who are so real and who are a reflection of the dilemma that many people find themselves in. I enjoyed the way the author explores complex issues related to modern technology and communication. The use of the epistolary is a style that enhances the plot and helps in character development.

Looking Glass Friends: A Novel Inspired by Real Love Letters is intense and the kind of work that will awaken powerful emotions in readers. As one reads on, the need to find out what happens at the end becomes very strong. Will the married woman leave her husband and five-year-old child for a stranger who makes her feel awesome? E.L. Neve will toy with your emotions until the last page of this brilliant novel.