Addie is a woman who knows, back in 1714 small-town France, that she doesn't want the ordinary life of a wife and mother, especially the wife of someone she is being forced to marry. To escape, she sells her soul to the Devil and in return is given freedom to do as she pleases and take all the time she wants. But life isn't easy because of the form this freedom takes, and the Devil shows up in her life from time to time urging her to surrender her soul so she no longer has to face the grueling situation she is in. But as difficult as her life is, it is also filled with wonder and beauty. Think of all the things you might experience as a first if you lived for 300 years. Addie is a fighter and she won't surrender.
I found the story fascinating because history is something that happens real-time, and if you were to live through it and continue to live for hundreds of years, it would be a memory, a part of your life, not something separate from you in history books. Also, you would know that the events you are experiencing today will soon be history to someone not yet born.
I also love the ending of the book, but I won't go there.
When I check out the one-star reviews, I agree with the complaint about repetitiveness. And sometimes the descriptions are over-long and often too abstract or esoteric; you know, when a writer become enmeshed in their own choice of words. I want to be able to see the scene the author is painting, or at least feel it. The author didn't always get me there.
I don't mind the jumping back and forth between time periods, however, which some reviewers hate. I think it's rather clever, actually. The story wouldn't be nearly as engaging if it were simply linear.
So, I guess this book is a matter of taste and according to the reviews, most people love it. Count me as one who can ignore its shortcoming and get into Addie's experience. I love thought-provoking and this story is that for me.
Thank you to my niece, Hayley, for loaning me this book and sharing enough of its story so that I read it in the first place.