This is the book everybody is talking about lately for two reasons: it is a new release, published last week, and it has a twist, which is shocking and the reason why a lot of people didn’t like it.
At the beginning, we meet a pair of siblings, James and Charlotte, when they are little. Their father dies young and the children now have to live with a relative, but they won’t stay long together because James is sent to a boarding school, so little by little they lose the special relationship they had. When James finishes school, he decides to go to London and try to become a writer, which was his only dream; he is helped by his soon-to-be best friend, Christopher Paige, and just before the two boys are going on vacation, they disappear.
Charlotte, utterly worried about James, who doesn’t respond to her telegrams, decides to go to London – she has never travelled away from the village she lives in York – and try to find out what has happened to James. The atmosphere of Victorian London and the danger Charlotte is about to face will give you the chills.
The quick is difficult to review without giving away THE TWIST, which happens at the beginning. There are a couple of clues about it before it finally comes, but seriously, if you aren’t expecting it, you don’t notice anything. The problem here is that the story changes completely its genre: the plot is going around James’ romantic relationship and you aren’t ready for what comes next. I had my OMG moment, mixed with Oh no! Not this, please, and then I just kept on reading and I enjoyed the rest of the story as well.
The author brings up a lot of remarkable secondary characters who help Charlotte. For example, there is a girl whose fiancé also disappears and she finally falls in love with his father, who was also trying to come over the grief after losing his son. Or the scientist who is doing a remarkable job, but the people he is working to don’t appreciate it and laugh at him because he is not like them. And, what about a book shop that comes to you when they think the time is right, instead of you ordering the books you want? All those characters have their own background and I liked to know about them.
Regarding Charlotte, she becomes the main character in the last part of the book and I was glad to know she still was the strong and resolute girl I knew when she was a child.
There are also different narrative structures in the book: we have the story narrated from several characters’ points of view, and there are also excerpts from diaries which help you to understand what’s going on.
I didn’t like a couple of things about the development of certain parts of the story, but on the whole, I think it is a good read. The twist is so unpredictable and surprising that, even though you might think it is not your cup of tea, it makes the rest of the story more appealing, if only to know how all that will end up.
I received this copy from Netgalley
Book on Goodreads