Over-hyped. For me that was what this book was in a nutshell. It couldn’t possibly have lived up to my high expectations. From all the quotes extolling it’s magnificence on the cover I was expecting a superb read.
Don’t get me wrong, I certainly enjoyed it. If you love unreliable narrators, then you will enjoy this book just fine, but for me sadly I just found it frustrating.
The book begins with the main character Maud having just found the remains of a compact mirror in the garden, which she recognizes, and this sets up the twin mysteries of the disappearance of her friend Elizabeth, and a previous mystery – the disappearance of her older sister Sukey just after the Second World War.
The main character Maud is beautifully portrayed in the first person narrative and I grew in affection and sympathy for her as the book went on. The descriptions of her descent into dementia were both terrifying and unbearably poignant at times. Healey’s gift for language is impressive.
Where my frustration set in was with the rambling double storyline that seemed to have no end in sight and I found it a bit haphazard at times. Where the bloody hell was Elizabeth?!! I was getting as frustrated as her daughter Helen, and undoubtedly this was the effect the author intended. I was also disappointed in the ending. I won’t actually give it away here, in case someone hasn’t finished reading it yet, but my feeling was ‘I have ploughed through this book for that?’
A beautifully written novel, I loved the character of Maud and her emotional journey. My main issue was with how the plot was structured.
I look forward to hearing what you thought.