I just discovered Canadian author Suzy Krause this year after reading Sorry I Missed You as an Amazon Prime First Reads selection. I absolutely adored her writing, the wonderful characters she creates, and the quirky yet relatable plots she sets them in. When I saw another novel of hers, Valencia and Valentine, on Prime Reading (basically another Prime perk I didn’t know existed, Prime Reading is a library on Amazon where you can borrow books if you have a Prime account!).
Valencia and Valentine follows debt collector Valencia as she struggles with her past and the mental trauma it has exacerbated. Mrs. Valentine is a lonely elderly woman living on her own, sharing her life story with a young cleaning girl who comes to help her. The narrative weaves between these two stories as each woman finds and reveals her inner truths.
This novel is a deep and poignant story that fully pulled me in. The portrayal of OCD is realistic and startling, and how Valencia copes is enlightening and interesting. Mrs. Valentine is unique and fascinating in her own way. Each has an important story to tell, with many quotable and memorable realizations along the way. It was an all-encompassing and thought provoking novel.
I was thoroughly engrossed from the first page to the final one. This is the kind of book that gives you a book hangover when you’ve finished it; the kind of book that changes your mood as you read it. I highly recommend it, but wouldn’t recommend reading it when you aren’t in the mood for something heavy. Valencia’s mental struggles are weighty and handled deservedly so, and are absolutely worth the read.