Sixteen year old Laurel Nicolson witnessed a murder at a house party at her home in England. Worst yet, the murder was committed by her mom, a sweet person who never hurt a fly. She has since buried the memory. Now, fifty years later, her mom is dying and Laurel is determined to find out what drove her mother to such an act before time has run out. Can she puzzle out the answers? Or will she spend the rest of her life wondering?
Before I start, I must confess something. I don’t know what possessed me to request this book for review. Maybe it was because it was a read now title back when I was being denied everything or maybe I just read the first few sentences of the synopsis and though it was YA or maybe I just had a case of temporary insanity. Whatever the reason, I did download this for review and even though it no longer appeals to me (if it ever really did), I knew I’d have to read it and get it off my list. This book is so far outside my normal reading that I don’t even know where to start. I don’t really read mysteries or normal adult books, so I really know how to rate it. I’ll do my best here to give you my honest opinion of it!
Character-wise, I only really liked Laurel. Her siblings were alright, but I hated Dorothy. She was shallow and delusional and down-right mean at times. I couldn’t like Jimmy because he had fallen for Dorothy and how anyone could love such a girl is beyond my comprehensive abilities. Vivian was an on the fence character. Now, a month later, I’m still not sure how I feel about her.
This book fell in the middle category for me. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. Some things about it irked me, but not enough to make me put it down. I hate how it jumps around. We see through too many sets of eyes here. I also hate how the reader learns things before Laurel. The whole point, I think, is for Laurel to learn about her mom’s past, so I feel like we should learn things along with Laurel, not before. It gives you a chapter or two from Dorothy’s perspective and then it jumps back to Laurel and she is so far behind knowledge-wise that I don’t even know how to catch her up. Even at the end, I’m not sure all of what she knows.
Writing-wise, it was pretty good. The story isn’t overly interesting, but it’s written in a way that was easy to read. Really, if you like mysteries or historical novels, you’ll probably enjoy this. For me, I like love stories and humor and happy endings and this didn’t really have those. Laurel’s mother does fall in love and live happily ever after, but somehow that doesn’t satisfy me because it takes place outside the main storyline. There was only two or three comments in the whole novel that made me smile, so the humor element was entirely missing.
This story just wasn’t for me. I give it three stars because I don’t think my issues were the books fault. I think it’s just outside my range of fictional joy and no amount of good writing will change that. A bit more humor would probably had me more interested, but I can see how it wouldn’t really fit within this type of story.
****Thank you to Atria Books for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****