About the Book:
A cache of letters from beyond the grave leads a bereaved sister on a journey from Australia to an idyllic French coastal town – and back in time to a golden summer where it all went wrong. An addictive, atmospheric and evocative mystery that examines how we become who we are and whether we can truly know those we love.
Growing up, the Anderson sisters were close, even though they were different. Susie, the wild one, wanted an adventurous life while Mills followed a safer path.
When Susie dies suddenly from a fall when hanging a string of lights for her fortieth birthday party, Mills is grief-stricken, even though they had drifted apart. Then Mills receives a bundle of mysterious letters from her sister to be read in the case of her death. Each letter instructs her to visit a place special to Susie, both to spread her ashes but also to uncover some truths Susie has long kept hidden from her family. Truths that seem to date back to one golden summer in an idyllic French coastal town, where a dark and shocking event was the beginning of an unravelling thread. A thread that leads both to Mills’ present and her mother Margaret’s past.
What choices connect the past to the present? What family secrets will surface and change the future?
In this twisty, evocative mystery, Jane Cockram flips the looking glass to reveal the lines of deception and love, truth and regret that run through families.
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Australia – HQ Fiction AU
Released March 2022
I had high hopes for this one having seen some glowing reviews on social media, but unfortunately, it just didn’t quite reach the same heights for me. The premise was interesting and drew me in, but the story was incredibly slow to unfold. I was halfway through the novel before I felt that things were starting to take shape. Once the pieces of the story puzzle all began to slide together, I did start to enjoy the story more and found myself becoming invested in the characters and their secrets. But then the dots began to be connected with some really coincidental meetings, that kept repeating through the generations, and it was at this point I gave in and acknowledged that the story was just not for me. Let’s be real here, London is just not that small. My no spoiler’s policy prevents me from being less vague here, but I’m happy to chat off book with any one about it.
The biggest problem I had with this novel though was the structure. I am all for alternating chapters between people and eras, doling out the story piece by piece, but this one changed too rapidly and too frequently, and I also felt that there were too many perspectives. There were the letters, Mills in the present day that sometimes went back to when she and Susie were younger, then there was Susie in 1998, later in the book, Margaret was added in, not just in the present day but also in the sixties. The chapters were short and flicked between all these people and eras with such rapidity, I was often double checking whose view I was in, which just pulled me out of the story all too frequently and made for a disjointed reading experience.
After a streak of five star reads, I was bound to hit a pothole eventually. Many may disagree with me on this one, but I can’t say it’s one I’d recommend at all.
Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.