Though sprinkled with references to poetry and the vagaries of capitalism, this [first] portion of the novel feels as if it may be headed into rom-com territory...But Prentiss has something less predictable in mind. We soon embark on a quest narrative where Emily’s desire for the maternal love she never felt, even with a devoted adoptive mother, is bottomless ... Old Flame is that rare novel whose author—as well as her protagonist—gains wisdom and authority as the story unfolds, never failing to remind us that while loss and grief are inescapable, joy and fulfillment are possible.
Confident, bittersweet ... The novel is unapologetic about this familiar premise; in fact, the novel highlights its familiarity in order to unpack it, often with acerbic humor ... As much as this work is about friendships, relationships and motherhood, it is also a book about writing: the dizzying joy Emily feels when she writes, and her fear of insufficiency.
Prentiss offers a sensitive story, gorgeously detailed and painfully realistic, about the lives and ordeals of women and artists, and what it means to seek and shape connection in the modern world. Filled with both snark and wisdom, this novel is a gift of love and forgiveness
Prentiss beautifully interweaves the complexities of being a daughter, becoming an adult, friendships between women, self expression, and motherhood in this introspective, energetic novel ... Prentiss’ writing is lively and dynamic, allowing even secondary characters, however small their roles, to make a lasting impact. As she tracks the ever-evolving feelings involved in womanhood during different phases in life, the intimate distress, yearning, grief, and laughter she evokes makes the novel seem like her protagonist’s memoir, resulting in a tale that grants readers a sense of connection, hope, and comfort.
Prentiss’ prose is energetic and inventive, and Emily’s restless imagination can make for fun interludes, as when she imagines Megan as an angel in a painting giving her advice. However, for much of the book, Prentiss tries to present Emily as a person still figuring out who she is and who she wants to become, and the result is that Emily sometimes feels more a symbolic repository of the contemporary New York woman than a fully formed character.
Prentiss has a gift for crafting complex characters, and her insight on the mixed emotions around adoption and unexpected pregnancy ring true throughout. With plenty of charm and drama, Prentiss keeps readers turning the pages.