customer reviews of Love's Compass

Five-Star Amazon customer review

A profound and fully enveloping story of a woman devoted to her husband and family who finds her life has taken on a new path, one she did not search for and one she never imagined would evolve. Liv and her husband had the perfect life...what happened? The writing in this novella is rich in prose and conveys very convincingly Liv's thoughts, feelings of conflict and a journey into her very soul. I found myself completely immersed in Liv's life, feeling the emotions expressed so powerfully by the writer. There was so much depth in every word that it felt as though I had read a full length novel. This was an amazing first novel and I look forward to her next book.

Five-Star Amazon customer review

I loved this book, the subject is thought provoking and I was so happy that there are other good endings than the ones we all imagine are the ideal.

Four-Star Amazon customer review

Love's Compass tells the story, set in present-day Boston, of a middle-aged married woman named Liv who finds herself in a stagnant marriage in which her husband has slowly but surely -- and painfully -- drifted away to a distant emotional place in which there is no longer room for her. Cast adrift, finding herself in a situation she never expected to experience, she finds herself drawn to an artist who stirs her passions -- emotional, intellectual and physical -- but also causes her mental anguish as she questions the propriety of developing a relationship with a man who is not her spouse. This well-told story, with believable characters and locales, and true-to-life dialogue, is a simultaneously inspiring and sobering love story which also touches on the real-life societal issue of the increasing number of older adults who find themselves starting over in life and love and are often not prepared for the often traumatic transition. This first novel by Mary McAvoy can be read as both a cautionary tale and a message of hope and faith as readers learn what direction Liv finally chooses as she follows her heart -- and love's compass. While this book might appear to appeal, at first glance, to "women of a certain age," it actually crosses gender boundaries and deserves a wider readership -- both as good storytelling and as a provocative look at American society's shifting attitudes toward the institution of marriage.

Four-Star Amazon customer review

"Love's Compass" by Mary McAvoy was referred to me by an old friend, with whom I've engaged in a friendly argument for nearly 40 years: he prefers his prose to be stripped down to the bare essentials; I prefer to read prose that's, well, more prosaic. So, when I received the book from Amazon, and briefly flipped through the small volume, I sardonically thought "Oh, dear, here we go again, the old wheezer has recommended another prose poem." And when I settled down to read the book, I had expected to breeze through and to be, despite the book's merits, ultimately disappointed by the dearth of nouns, verbs and adjectives.

But, after a few chapters, I realized that I held in my hands a rather intimate, and thoroughly evocative portrait of Liv, a middle-aged woman whose marriage is, if not on the rocks, then slowly drifting down a river and becoming mired in mud flats, and Orin, an artist to whom she is drawn for emotional rescue. The plot develops through a series of encounters between Liv and Orin, which ultimately lead to, as the author so aptly put it, "observing themselves falling in love."

These encounters are beautifully juxtaposed with scenes from their individual struggles to comprehend their situation, and to decide on a course their lives should take: Liv must decide on ending a long marriage, and face the complications this would involve with family and friends; and Orin, the lone-wolf individualist, must decide if he can let an Other into his life. Hence the metaphor in the title, for love is the compass which ultimately guides their choice.

All of this is expressed in such beautiful language that I have come to the conclusion that the writer was born to tell great stories. For this book, despite its brevity, qualifies as such because the language is so evocative in describing the struggles faced by the protagonists.

However, although I was quite satisfied by the prose, and the world of wonders described in the book, I can not bring myself to the point where I can tell my old friend that this book, as meritorious as it is, can ever settle our old argument. For the book was so well done, and the language so precious, that I found myself afterward singing to myself a refrain from the Dylan song titled "On a Night Like This," which is "If this is love/give me more and more and more."

This book was that good. But for more I shall wait until Ms. McAvoy is ready to release her next novel, which I understand is in the works. So, give me more!