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“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.”

― Archibald MacLeish

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

From the author of "Before Ever After" comes a highly unusual love story.

From the author of "Before Ever After" comes a new novel "Love and Gravity" .

Music. Magic. Science. History. Time. And a love that rewrites everything you thought was true.

Love and Gravity
By Samantha Sotto
Ballantine. 408 pp. $6.99

March 31, 2017 Book Review From

Love and Gravity touches on love, destiny, and the space-time continuum. It's an intriguing love story between Isaac Newton, the 17th-century scientist, and a modern-day woman from San Francisco.

Andrea Louviere is a 7-year-old cello prodigy when she first sees Isaac. While she is playing her own composition in her room, a light glows and a crack appears in the wall. Through it, she sees a boy in another bedroom. They stare at each other in shock, then wave as the crack slowly closes.

Andrea tries to recreate the song she played as well as she can and make the crack appear again, but nothing happens until two years later. To her dismay, her beloved father has remarried, and his wife later delivers a premature baby girl who does not live long. In her room, Andrea pours out her grief (and guilt) on her cello. She finds herself playing the old melody, and white light flashes once again as a crack opens in the wall.

The boy is older now. He runs to the crack and speaks, but Andrea can hear nothing. The crack closes, and she frantically plays the song over and over, bringing her father in to complain. She tries to tell him about the boy, which just earns her visits with a psychiatrist.

The crack and the boy become obsessions with Andrea. They don't reappear until a few years later, unfortunately during an important concert. At the height of her performance, she sees the light and crack appear in her sheet music. She can glimpse the boy, now a young man, holding up a note: "Name?" As the crack closes she screams out her name in front of the shocked audience.

An elderly Englishman, Oscar Ian Westin, knocks on her door one day and delivers to Andrea, now 17, a yellowed letter sealed with red wax. When she opens it, the first page is the same "Name?" note. The other page says it was from the boy behind the wall, Isaac Newton, and that the time has come to explain everything and how they will come to love each other.

Love and Gravity (available only as an ebook in the United States) asks: What if Isaac Newton's achievements in mathematics and physics were spurred by love, by his desperate search to find a way through the barriers of time and space so that he and Andrea could be united? It's a fascinating concept and a poignant love story.
From Library Journal
This is the story of an impossible affair between present-day San Francisco cello prodigy Andrea Louviere and a young Isaac Newton. More than a romance, this tale is an enigma and a conundrum. Andrea’s childhood playing magically opens up a crack in space and time. 

The crack quickly closes but not before she meets Isaac on the other side. As this phenomenon repeats itself over the years, Andrea—now a young woman—begins to receive written messages from Isaac, delivered in the present. When she gets a note from her future self, things really get interesting. With the help of her erstwhile present-day boyfriend Nate, Andrea is able to understand the logic behind the doorway to the past. She boldly steps through the doorway, and her romance with Isaac is truly ignited.

The novel describes a Möbius strip of interrelated actions that circle back upon themselves in space and time. Sotto’s (Before Ever After) remarkable story keeps the reader guessing until the very end.

Verdict : The imaginative blend of romance, history, and paranormal is compulsively readable, hits all the romantic high notes, and provides a novel explanation for the development of calculus; highly recommended.—Henry Bankhead, San Rafael P.L., CA 

From Good Reads
Sophie rated it it was amazing
This book will make your heart melt and hurt and you will love it.

There’s something quite magical about this story. The plot itself, first, which is original and gripping. The idea of time-travel is not new in literature, yet Samantha Sotto manages to give it a fresh twist by allowing two time periods to meet in the most special and original way. Second, I’ve always loved the inclusion of real-life figures into fiction, and while I don’t know much about Isaac Newton’s life and personality, I think she gave him a life I loved reading.

The characters were totally real to me and realistic, which is a clue of how beautifully written this book is.

Speaking of beautifully written, the magic is there, too. It’s in the words, the carefully crafted sentences, the beautiful descriptions, the raw emotions that translate into the pages. There’s tension, care and so much love and respect of the words, and I could really feel that the author had chosen every word very carefully, which is something I really enjoy and respect in someone.

Words have weight, after all.

I especially loved the fact that while Andrea gets into this almost-quest to discover more about Isaac and to get closer to him, the reader does, too. You’re going further, forward, faster, just to know what’s going to happen, how, when, why? That’s what a great book is all about.

If you haven’t gathered already, I loved this book, and I highly, highly, recommend it to everyone who loves history, beautifully written stories, love stories, or just books in general. I’m sure everyone can get something from it. 

AMAZON Book Reviews
5.0 out of 5 starsLove and Gravity transcends space and time
By JAR on February 7, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition

Love and Gravity is the second novel by Filipino author Samantha Sotto. This story intertwines the stories of Andrea Louviere and Isaac Newton. Andrea is of the twentieth century, Isaac is of the seventeenth century but their young unhappy lives become meshed when she is only 7, he is 9. Andrea is a cellist prodigy playing music that seems out of this world. In fact, the resonance of her music has created a split in time and space such that Andrea and Isaac find each other when both need a friend.

At about the same time, Andrea makes another friend in her own dimension and her own time. Nate is the new boy in class having come to live with his grandmother. He keeps very much to himself until a lunchtime incident that seals their friendship. Throughout the story Andrea is torn by her feelings for each fellow.

In a beautifully told story the characters come alive in a way that makes even the most unusual aspect of this story seem perfectly plausible. The depth of Ms. Sotto's research and her understanding of Isaac Newton and his scientific discovery flavors the story and makes everything seem true. She brings into play his work with optics, light, and gravity as well as resonance and acoustics and spins the tale in such a way that the reader can absolutely understand how a rift in time occurred and the interaction from two different times. Did that interaction help form the genius of Newton and were his many gains during his Annus Mirabilis - his marvelous year, the result of this interaction? This story will make you think in this direction.

I found this book to be absolutely enchanting, perhaps the story that has captured me more than any other. I read late into the night coping with the internal struggle of wanting to know what happens next with that of never wanting the story to end. I wholeheartedly recommend this book and encourage reading it, you won't be sorry.

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and romantic book
By Tara on February 7, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

I thought this book was beautiful. I swear the way Sotto writes I could hear music pouring through her words as the details she writes with became notes of art. Granted the idea of star-crossed lovers separated by circumstance and time. has been done before such as in the movie Lake House or the book Time Traveler's Wife but Sotto has most definitely put her own stamp on the idea using Isaac Newton as one of the love interests. It was obvious the author put some effort into researching Newton instead of just using the basics which made it more fun to google facts from fiction or play the what if game.

I recommend reading it with some cello music to really bring out the beauty of this story.

5.0 out of 5 starsThe Music, The Adventure, and The Infinite Tenderness...
By Autumn on February 7, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Andrea Louviere was destined to play the cello. Her father, a celebrated concert cellist, made sure of that. He taught her how focus her exceptional talent and about just how much power that music really has.

Even he couldn’t have imagined just how true his lesson would prove to be.

One day while practicing, her music opens a crack in her wall to reveal a beautiful boy with a smile that she can never forget. And so begins her desperate search for a way to see him again.

A mysterious man suddenly appears on her doorstep carrying letters from the boy beyond the wall. In his words, she finds strength to overcome her fears and a love that dares to transcend time.

Isaac Newton was historically known for being a loner. He never married and never committed to anything – other than science. But what history doesn’t know is that his heart belonged to a girl that he could never really have. The brief glimpses that he had of Andrea kept him going through a lifetime of solitude and sadness.

He would find a way to cross all barriers to tell her what was in his heart and maybe that would be enough to hold on to when even reason failed him.

But laws and hearts are meant to be broken and it’s a price that he will gladly pay for the beautiful girl made of magic and music.

I expected a sweet and simple love story when I began to read Love and Gravity. And what I experienced was something far different. Samantha has created a wildly passionate tale filled with such longing and heartbreak that I couldn’t hold back the tears. She blended the new and the old with poetic precision and I was completely swept away by the music, the adventure and the infinite tenderness. It’s a feeling that I know I won’t forget for a very long time…

5.0 out of 5 starsMuch Better Than The Time Traveler's Wife!
By Ms_Dibs on March 19, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition

I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for my review. I think from many of the other reviews you will understand the plot of this time-traveling story. However, what you will not understand unless you read this story is 1) how you could possibly believe about a time-traveling story about Isaac Newton (I agree and let this gem of a story sit in my reader for a long time because I couldn't wrap my mind around it. Or 2) How such a sweet story about complicated relationships could stay with you long after the novel is over. Please don't let the unique plot line put you off about this gem of a story!