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The Romantic by Barbara Gowdy
The Romantic begins when Louise Kirk was 9, her mother abandoned Louise and her father, never to be heard from again. Soon after, a new family moves to the neighborhood and Louise instantly becomes a virtual part of their family and becomes best friends with their adopted son, Abel. As they become teenagers, Louise falls obsessively in love with him, but he seems indifferent to her. Highly intelligent and talented, Abel is also driven by inner demons and he tells Louise that he will kill himself of her 26th birthday. Louise, however, seems determined that her love can save him. Barbara Gowdy's novel is a retelling of the ancient story of the doomed lovers Abelard and Heloise set in modern Canada. The Seattle Times says of The Romantic, "This is an uncommonly fine novel, peopled with three-dimensional characters animated by an emotionally convincing plot."