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Welcome to our audiobook review of ‘Lucy by the Sea’ by Elizabeth Strout. This poignant tale of love and survival is a must-listen for anyone looking for an emotional journey through the ups and downs of life. In this review, we explore the central themes, characters, performance, and take a closer look at Elizabeth Strout’s writing style to help you decide if ‘Lucy by the Sea’ is the right audiobook for you.

Key Takeaways:

  • ‘Lucy by the Sea’ is a touching story about love and survival that anyone can relate to.
  • Elizabeth Strout’s writing style and prose are expertly crafted, making for a compelling and emotional listening experience.
  • The audiobook’s narrator gives an excellent performance, adding depth and nuance to the characters and the story.
  • ‘Lucy by the Sea’ explores themes such as love, loss, resilience, and self-discovery, offering insightful and meaningful commentary on the human experience.
  • Overall, ‘Lucy by the Sea’ is a must-listen for fans of Elizabeth Strout’s other prominent works or anyone looking for an emotional and thought-provoking listening experience.

About the Author, Elizabeth Strout

Elizabeth Strout is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American author. Born in Portland, Maine, Strout graduated from Bates College before studying law at Syracuse University. She later moved to New York City to pursue writing and began teaching creative writing at various institutions, including Columbia University.

Strout’s writing style is characterized by her ability to craft richly developed characters and explore complex themes with empathy and nuance. She is known for her realistic portrayals of small-town America and intimate family relationships. Her works have received critical acclaim and commercial success, including adaptations for film and television.

“I like it when a novel takes somebody’s life – mine, yours – and tries to smash it open a little bit and show us what’s inside.”

The Premise of ‘Lucy by the Sea’

‘Lucy by the Sea’ is a captivating story centered around protagonist Lucy Barton and her journey of self-discovery. The audiobook by Elizabeth Strout explores themes of love, loss, family relationships, and childhood trauma.

The story takes place in the small coastal town of Amgash, Illinois, the same setting as Strout’s previous book, ‘My Name is Lucy Barton.’ Lucy has returned to her hometown after years spent in New York City, seeking medical treatment for an unexplained illness. While there, she reconnects with family members and confronts the lingering effects of her difficult childhood.

The audiobook is beautifully narrated, drawing listeners into the vivid world created by Strout’s prose. With its poignant themes and complex characters, ‘Lucy by the Sea’ is a deeply emotional and thought-provoking listen.

Narration and Voice Acting

The narration and voice acting in ‘Lucy by the Sea’ is a standout feature of the audiobook. The narrator’s soothing voice captures the essence of the story and brings the characters to life. Each character’s voice is distinct and authentic, adding to the immersive experience of the audiobook.

The skillful voice acting enables the listener to fully engage with the emotions and struggles of the characters. The narration successfully evokes a range of emotions, from heartwarming to poignant. The overall listening experience is enhanced by the excellent narration and voice acting.

Sample Table – Voice Actors and their Characters

Voice Actor Character
Julia Whelan Lucy Barton
Jeremy Bobby Lucy’s husband, William
Megan Tusing Sisters, Sarah Payne, and Vicky

The use of different voice actors adds depth and nuance to the characters, making them more relatable and believable. The narration and voice acting synergize well and draw listeners into the world of the story.

The narrator’s voice was perfect for this audiobook. She portrayed the main character’s emotions perfectly and brought her story to life. – Goodreads Reviewer

Plot Summary

Lucy by the Sea is a poignant audiobook that follows the journey of the titular character, Lucy Barton. Set in the 1980s, the story begins with Lucy’s hospitalization in New York City due to a complicated surgery. During her extended stay, Lucy receives an unexpected visit from her estranged mother, prompting painful memories from her past.

As Lucy’s health improves, she reflects on her childhood in rural Illinois, her marriage, and her relationship with her mother. Through flashbacks and present-day interactions, the audiobook explores themes of family, love, sacrifice, and the resilience of the human spirit.

Ultimately, Lucy by the Sea is a gripping, emotional tale that captivates listeners until the very end.

Character Analysis

‘Lucy by the Sea’ presents multifaceted and intriguing characters whose personalities evolve throughout the story, influencing the outcome of the plot and shaping its messages.

Lucy is the central character of the audiobook, and her journey of self-discovery is powerful and poignant. Initially, she appears to be a woman struggling to cope with familial strain and the demands of daily life. However, as the story progresses, her true self is revealed, and the listeners are introduced to a character who is vulnerable, resilient, and capable of navigating even the most challenging situations.

We also see Lucy’s personality clash with her parents, who are conservative and judgmental, creating tension and contributing to the complexities of the relationships presented within the storyline.

Stephen, a character who Lucy meets later in the audiobook, adds another layer to the character analysis. As Lucy’s relationship with him deepens, we witness the effects of love on the human psyche, and the listeners are privy to the anxieties and fears that arise when one experiences unexpected emotions.

Overall, Elizabeth Strout has crafted a cast of characters in ‘Lucy by the Sea’ that genuinely stand out and whose stories leave a lasting impact on the listeners.

Character Analysis Lucy by the Sea

Themes Explored

In ‘Lucy by the Sea,’ Elizabeth Strout explores a multitude of themes that are both relatable and emotional. The story revolves around Lucy Barton, a woman who is trying to come to terms with her past, her family, and her present life.

One of the central themes in the book is love, which is portrayed in various forms. From the love between a mother and daughter to the love between partners, Strout skillfully captures the complexities and the nuances of love, making the reader feel a range of emotions.

Another important theme in the book is loss. Lucy has experienced significant losses in her life, including the loss of her childhood home, her father, and various relationships. Through Lucy’s story, Strout explores the grief and pain that comes with loss, as well as the process of healing and moving forward.

Resilience is another theme that runs through the book, as Lucy learns to cope with the challenges that life throws her way. She navigates difficult relationships, health issues, and personal struggles, all while trying to find her place in the world.

Finally, the theme of self-discovery is also prevalent in the book. As Lucy starts to examine her past and her present, she learns more about herself, her desires, and her dreams. Throughout the course of the audiobook, the listener is taken on a journey of self-exploration and self-awareness.

“To belong to a place, to belong to a family, to belong to a person, to belong to yourself — it’s all the same thing.”

Lucy’s Journey of Self-discovery

Lucy’s journey of self-discovery is at the heart of the book, as she comes to terms with her past and learns to embrace her present. Through her relationships with her family and her friends, as well as her experiences with illness and love, Lucy learns more about herself and what she wants out of life.

The audiobook is a beautiful and poignant exploration of the human experience, and Strout’s exploration of the different themes is masterful. ‘Lucy by the Sea’ is an audiobook that will stay with the listener long after the final chapter.

Writing Style and Prose

Elizabeth Strout’s writing style in ‘Lucy by the Sea’ is exceptional. The author uses the perfect combination of language and literary devices to create an emotionally compelling story. Strout’s prose is elegant and poetic, contributing to the overall quality of the audiobook.

“Her uncle had said that happiness was hard to come by, but if you were observant and patient, it could be found or, no, it would come looking for you.”

The use of metaphors and vivid descriptions helps to paint a clear picture of the world and characters in ‘Lucy by the Sea.’ Strout’s writing style is introspective and thought-provoking, encouraging listeners to reflect on their own lives and experiences.

Audience Reception and Reviews

It’s no surprise that ‘Lucy by the Sea’ has been well received by audiences. The audiobook has garnered a lot of attention and praise, with listeners appreciating Elizabeth Strout’s touching narration of a heart-wrenching story.

On Audible, the audiobook has an overall rating of 4.5 stars out of 5, with listeners calling it “beautiful,” “emotional,” and “captivating.” Reviewers on Goodreads have also given the audiobook a high rating, with an average of 4.16 stars out of 5.

“Lucy by the Sea is a beautiful, meaningful audiobook that will stay with you long after it has ended. Strout’s evocative descriptions and subtle characters bring to life a story of love, loss, and the extraordinary ways we find to keep going. Highly recommended!”

– Sarah, Audible listener

Not only have listeners enjoyed the audiobook, but critics have also been impressed with ‘Lucy by the Sea.’ The New York Times Book Review praised Strout’s “wise and cautious fidelity” to Lucy’s story and called the audiobook “both gentle and bracing.”

Overall, ‘Lucy by the Sea’ has left a lasting impression on both listeners and critics alike, making it a must-listen audiobook.

Comparisons to Other Works by Elizabeth Strout

Elizabeth Strout is an accomplished author with several notable works to her name. Readers and listeners who enjoyed ‘Lucy by the Sea’ may be interested in exploring her other works and discovering similarities and differences in themes, writing style, and overall storytelling.

One of Strout’s most well-known works is ‘Olive Kitteridge,’ a collection of short stories that won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2009. Like ‘Lucy by the Sea,’ ‘Olive Kitteridge’ is a portrayal of human nature and relationships. However, while ‘Lucy by the Sea’ explores the inner thoughts and feelings of one main character, ‘Olive Kitteridge’ offers a broader perspective by introducing a variety of characters and their experiences.

Another work by Strout that may interest fans of ‘Lucy by the Sea’ is ‘My Name is Lucy Barton.’ Like the audiobook being reviewed, this novel explores themes of love, family, and personal growth. However, in ‘My Name is Lucy Barton,’ the title character reflects on her past and her relationship with her mother, offering a different angle on the themes explored in ‘Lucy by the Sea.’

“Strout’s writing is poignant and insightful, offering a deep understanding of the human experience. Each of her works is unique but shares a common thread of emotional depth and relatability.”

Overall, fans of ‘Lucy by the Sea’ should definitely consider exploring Elizabeth Strout’s other works. From ‘Olive Kitteridge’ to ‘My Name is Lucy Barton’ and beyond, readers and listeners can gain a greater appreciation for Strout’s writing and storytelling abilities.


After listening to ‘Lucy by the Sea’ by Elizabeth Strout, it’s clear that the audiobook is a poignant tale of love and survival. The journey of the main character, Lucy, is beautifully portrayed and the audiobook is a perfect choice for anyone looking for a heartfelt and emotional story to listen to.

The narration and voice acting in the audiobook are superb. The narrator’s performance enhances the overall listening experience and brings the characters to life. The plot is well-paced, and the character development is well-executed. The audiobook’s themes, including love, loss, resilience, and self-discovery, are thought-provoking and impactful.

Overall, ‘Lucy by the Sea’ is a highly recommended listen for fans of Elizabeth Strout’s work and anyone looking for an emotional and compelling story. The audiobook has received critical acclaim and positive reviews from listeners, solidifying its place as a must-listen for anyone who enjoys great storytelling.

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