Newest review: The Love Proof by Madeleine Henry

by Ekta R. Garg

February 10, 2021

Genre: Women’s fiction

Release date: February 9, 2021

Rated: Bookmark it! / 4 stars

Two college students find true love and vow to stay together forever. When one of them makes a drastic decision, however, the other does everything she can to find a way to prove the tangibility of their love. Author Madeleine Henry intertwines science and feelings in the thoughtful, touching novel The Love Proof.

Freshman Sophie Jones arrives at Yale with the eyes of every person in the physics department on her. She’s a bona fide prodigy, one of those kids who did complicated calculations in their heads in elementary school. Experts say she has the potential to explain the mysteries of the universe with her intelligence.

Sophie doesn’t see herself as anything special. In fact, she’s always felt a little out of place with other people. Her parents adore and support her, even as her mother worries about her being isolated. Yet it’s when she’s alone that Sophie is happiest and most content.

In her first week at Yale, then, she’s shocked when she finds herself drawn to fellow freshman Jake Kristopher. Jake makes her feel like she’s home. She keeps getting the sense she’s known him for ages, that they’ve always been together in spirit. Jake feels exactly the same way, and within days they’re spending every free moment together.

Robert Malchik, Sophie’s advisor, starts the school year more excited than he’s been in a long time. Sophie’s gifts could forge new paths. In their first meeting, she says she wants to use physics to show that people can actually observe time and not just the fact that it’s passing. Malchik knows his own profile in the department and the university will go up by several notches with Sophie as his protégé.

Except ever since Sophie met Jake, she wants to do nothing but spend all of her own time talking to him, sitting with him, and loving him. Jake, too, feels like Sophie is his soulmate. With a difficult start in life, he’s starting to hit his stride as a student at Yale and Sophie makes his life complete.

Jake wants Sophie by his side every step of the way, and Sophie is eager to join him. But she starts neglecting her own work, and Jake is horrified at the thought that she’s so willing to give up so much of herself when it’s clear she still has so much to give to the world. Their bond defies rational thinking, but Jake knows for once they’ll have to approach their relationship in a cool-headed manner if Sophie is ever to fulfill her potential.

Author Madeleine Henry accomplishes that rare feat of using science to explain love and make it engaging. Sophie’s immense gift in physics means several mini lessons in the subject, but Henry doesn’t drag the lessons out. Combining complex concepts with easy-to-understand examples, Henry proves that even science can be romantic.

Both Sophie and Jake are endearing characters. Sophie’s childlike innocence will make readers yearn for their own childhoods. Jake’s determination to achieve his dreams no matter what it takes will remind readers of their own doggedness. Yet it’s Jake’s graciousness in accepting Sophie’s gift, and his demand that she continue exploring it, that makes this novel the perfect read for Valentine’s Day. Jake is real and flawed, but he also loves Sophie enough to push her toward her potential—even if she herself is reluctant to go there.

The only drawbacks of the novel come in two facets. The first is the use of omniscient voice. While it helps to establish the old-world romance feel the book projects, it also forces a little bit too much of a slowdown of reading.

The second drawback comes in the lack of development of Sophie and Jake’s parents. In particular, early in the book Sophie’s mother is her greatest champion, but midway through she nearly disappears. Vague references to her only make her loss that much more pronounced, a shame because Henry did such a fantastic job of sketching Sophie and Jake’s mothers with such few words. A few more lines would have helped round out the narrative about them too.

Despite that, this novel is a lovely treatise on the power of love and its inexplicable pull on everyone—even world-class scientists. Fans of love stories will thoroughly enjoy this one. I recommend readers Bookmark The Love Proof.

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