Chicago, sometime. Two people meet in the armory of the Art Institute by chance. Prior to their encounter, he is a doctoral student who manages his destructive thoughts with compulsive calculations about time travel; she is a bipolar counterfeit artist undergoing court-ordered psychotherapy. After their meeting, those things do not change.
Everything else, however, is slightly different.
Both obsessive, eccentric personalities, Aldo Damiani and Charlotte Regan struggle to be without each other from the moment they meet. The truth – that he is a clinically depressed, anti-social theoretician and she is a manipulative liar with a history of self-sabotage – means the deeper they fall in love, the more troubling their reliance on each other becomes.
Alone With You in the Ether by Olivie Blake is a glimpse into the nature of love, what it means to be unwell, and how to face the fractures of yourself and still love as if you’re not broken.
Olivie Blake is such a fantastic author, but I doubt I need to tell you that ! I find her style so unique, it can be light, but manages to be deep and philosophical at the same time, it sounds impossible but read an Olivie book and you’ll know that it isn’t. Alone With You in the Ether is completely magical, it’s such a fascinating read and so romantic.
It’s so beautiful, how real the romance is, that the characters aren’t perfect, they are flawed realistic people with their own issues and histories. This is also part of what makes this romance so compelling and intense, there’s no niceties, no rose tinted glasses, no lies that love heals all, it’s just raw and honest love, the message so thoroughly received that real people with real problems deserving to love and be loved. That love isn’t something reserved for the perfect, gorgeous unrealistic people we read about (and see in life too).
As someone who has mental health issues, I have had depression and anxiety,’suffered and recovered’ from in the past, currently dealing with it and I know once I am ‘better’ as people see it, that I will definitely experience it again. I related so much with this book, with Aldo and Regan, who are so complex, so amazing and so utterly likeable. I can see my own struggles and successes, facing up to things, acceptance, trying to get and be ‘better’. I cried quite a bit reading this and I still can’t figure out how much is for the characters and how much for myself.
I won’t ruin or spoil this book for anyone, the ending is just, wow, can’t put into words how I feel and this is a book that touched my soul and I don’t think will ever truly leave me, nor would I want it to.
Thanks to netgalley, Tor UK, black crow PR and Olivie Blake for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and voluntary review, all opinions are my own and freely given.
About the Author
Adopting the pseudonym of Olivie Blake after a character in one of her early short stories, Alexene Farol Follmuth abandoned her studies at law school to become a full-time writer.
In 2020 she self-published her dark academia novel The Atlas Six online, having not even attempted to obtain a traditional publisher for the work. The manuscript became a social media sensation, prompting a bidding war for print publication won by Pan Macmillan in 2022. The electrifying story of young magicians vying for membership of an elite academy, The Atlas Six sold phenomenally well, spawning the sequel The Atlas Paradox later the same year.
This success has led to the publication of some of Blake’s earlier unpublished or self-published works, such as the emotional love story Alone With You in the Ether and Masters of Death. One for My Enemy, a fantasy novel set amongst the witches of New York City, is published in 2023 whilst the Young Adult romcom My Mechanical Romance was released under her real name in 2022.