Love, Loss, and Lagniappe

A Love Story That Defied the Laws of Nature

Fiction - Literary
159 Pages
Reviewed on 08/28/2018
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Author Biography

Richard has always liked telling good stories, but it was not until his youngest child left for college that he was able to find the time to put them into print. His first novel, Love, Loss, and Lagniappe was inspired by actual events in his life, and utilizes Richard’s Medical and Business School background to explore the journey of self-discovery after heartbreaking loss, while revealing the scientific basis for the meaning of life (You’ll have to read it to find out!).
Richard is currently working on his second novel, Panicles, a multi-generational story of the intersecting fate of two families and the price of fame versus the simpler pleasures of a grounded life.
Richard lives in New York City with his love and inspiration, Lisa, his wife of thirty years (and counting), near their beloved grown children.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Love, Loss, and Lagniappe: A Love Story That Defied the Laws of Nature is a literary fiction novel written by Richard Robbins. It was spring of 1982, and Drew was enjoying being a part of the Admissions Office tours that showcased the Tulane University campus to junior and senior high school students and their families from across the country. He was in his second semester as a freshman now, and he somehow felt so much older than those high school students were. Drew and his friends knew that fraternizing with any of the prospective students was strictly forbidden, and he ordinarily had no problem conforming to that, but then something strange happened. It wasn’t just her eyes, which were the most amazing color, or the way she looked. The attraction he felt to the girl from Virginia went much deeper than that. He was in a daze as he guided her group through their tour and rushed through the next one in the hopes that he would be able to see her again. Her group had already left, however, and, besides, he knew the rules about not making contact. But something about that momentary connection stayed with him. She was the ideal compared to which each girl he met while in college invariably paled.

Richard Robbins’s literary fiction novel, Love, Loss, and Lagniappe: A Love Story That Defied the Laws of Nature, is a sweet and enthralling tale about two lovers whose chance meeting resonates with each of them for years. Robbins is the consummate guide to Tulane University and New Orleans, and I loved getting to know that city through his story. While I’ve read travel guides about New Orleans, somehow following Drew as he showed “his city” to Kate helped me get a bit closer to the magic and mystery of that historic place. The plot is engaging and unpredictable in the best of ways, and the character study of Drew is unforgettable and profound, especially his time spent on the road and on the Appalachian Mountain Trail. Love, Loss, and Lagniappe: A Love Story That Defied the Laws of Nature is most highly recommended.

Benjamin Ookami

So many people talk about love at first sight. Richard Robbins explores that in Love, Loss, and Lagniappe: A Love Story That Defied the Laws of Nature, which is based on actual events. Drew first laid eyes on Kate while having to perform the duties of a tour guide in New Orleans for Tulane University. Having made everyone else around her disappear when Drew saw her for the first time, Kate was a visiting student. A year later, in the fall of 1985, Drew and Kate start dating. We see these two medical students enjoying a Thanksgiving weekend together, attending a New Orleans Mardi Gras, and finally uttering the words “I love you” to each other. Fourteen years later, they are married and parents of twin daughters. Life has been good to Drew. Up until the day that Kate’s MRI test results are read.

The word “lagniappe” is unfamiliar, so I’m thankful for the clipped Mark Twain quote that Robbins uses in his introduction to explain it. In his prologue, the author draws our attention to Oxytocin and shows us proficiently what it is responsible for. I was surprised at the turn the novel took. Though this five-part novel starts out as one, this is not a romance story. Robbins puts a scintillating spotlight on those difficult decisions we have to make sometimes so that the people we love can remain happy. Even so, one reads this book hoping that Drew does not remain on his path. Providing a scientific answer as to what the meaning of life is at the end, Richard Robbins certainly inspires his readers to do what they believe to be the right thing.

Deborah Lloyd

A Tulane University student, Drew Coleman was a tour guide for potential applicants to the New Orleans university. He met Kate from Virginia, who was considering Tulane, along with other prestigious colleges. He never forgot her and could not believe his eyes when he saw her again in the fall of 1985. While Drew was in his second year of medical school, she was an incoming first year medical student. In the romantic novel, Love, Loss and Lagniappe: A Love Story That Defied the Laws of Nature, written by Richard Robbins, the relationship between Drew and Kate blossomed. Lagniappe is a New Orleans term that loosely means “a little something extra.” The story then fast forwards to 1999, when Drew is an ophthalmologist and Kate is a rheumatologist. As this summary will not be a spoiler, the rest of the story unfolds...

This is a fast-paced novel, with great moments of joy and devastating moments of heartbreak and sadness. Drew is the main character, and how he deals with life-changing moments are the foundation of this captivating novel. His choices are authentic and powerful yet could easily be misunderstood. There are layers of meaning, and an astute reader will dig in and truly relish the nuances within this plot. There is nothing like a long walk to clear the mind and discover life’s meanings. Author Richard Robbins has skillfully crafted a thoughtful romantic fictional work in Love, Loss and Lagniappe: A Love Story That Defied the Laws of Nature. This is much more than a romantic story!