Title: Words in Deep Blue
Author: Cath Crowley
This is a love story.
It’s the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets.
It’s the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea.
Now, she’s back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal and looking for the future in the books people love, and the words they leave behind.
I read this book a few weeks ago, and as I was copying and pasting the Goodreads Synopsis, I began to tear up in remembrance of the melancholy of this book. It is simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming and now most definitely one of my favorite books.
One wonderful thing about this book is that it’s a book about books, which I have always had an affinity for. When I was in elementary school, my favorite book was Word After Word After Word. When I was in middle school, I was fascinated by The Book Thief. And now, this. I think the reason I love books about books so much is that they’re so atmospheric. It’s so easy to fall into and in love with the world as it fills you with warm nostalgia. So yes, as you can well imagine, there were so many references to books (including Never Let Me Go 😊), as well as poetry, as the story circled around a beautiful piece by T.S. Eliot called The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. (To be frank, though, I have yet to fully understand the poem.)
Another thing I loved about the book was its romance and tragedy. The characters and relationships in this book were genuine, strikingly honest, and well-developed, to say the least. Also, as you can see in the synopsis, Rachel Sweetie mourns throughout the story for her brother Cal. This, in and of itself, is already devastating. Interestingly, while most books would have Rachel overcome her grief as the book goes on, in Words in Deep Blue, the deeper I delved into the world, the deeper the sorrow of the characters became (some tears were shed). However, as heart-wrenching this book may have been, it was also achingly touching and hopeful.
Finally, the book really just left me with a reminder as to why I love books. A book holds stories–not just of its characters, but of its readers. The way they are read varies based on the individual reading it and at the time in which they do, but as unique each experience may be, the book links and unites this melange. Ultimately, in the permanence of books lies our humanity.
“We are the books we read and the things we love. […] Our ghosts hide in the things we leave behind.”Cath Crowley
I’d recommend this book to those that enjoy contemporary, reflective, tender, and/or romantic literature. Also, in this book is a slight mystery (perhaps that’s another reason why I loved this book so much), so if you like mysteries, maybe this book is for you. However, the mystery is written in such a way that though the answer may be obvious, your heart will likely shatter the moment you figure it out, so read it at your own discretion (or just read it anyway).