Almost all of my friends loved Niffenegger’s book The Time Traveller’s Wife — but I didn’t. I thought it was well-written but I hated the ending, which I saw foreshadowed and hoped wasn’t coming (but did).
However, I respect Audrey as a writer and wanted to read her new novel, which sounded compelling: twin sisters inherit a London flat from their mother’s twin whom they have never met, and must live in it for a year. They meet and befriend the other residents of the building, including their aunt’s lover and a crossword-creating genius who suffers from severe anxiety and compulsions. This book, which I got from the library, was part a coming-of-age novel, part mystery, part romance, and part ghost story. And I really, really liked it!!
Throughout this book, I enjoyed the sense that there was a mystery just under the surface. Why didn’t the twins’ mother and aunt talk to each other? What really happened? And the ghost story was intriguing to me, too – though at some points it seemed rather fantastic (ghostly communication through dust on a regular conversational basis). However, thoroughout the story I was immersed in Valentina’s (one of the twins) character development. Would she grow to independence? Would she stay attached to and under the power of her sister? And how much did the twins’ relationship mirror their mother’s and aunt’s? What DID happen to their mother and her sister, and what is being hidden from Valentina and Julia?
While I could certainly see disaster coming down the pike, I did like the ending of this book as I felt it was somewhat redeeming and positive. Each character had their own demons to dispel and most did a pretty good job of it, in one way or another. It wasn’t predictable – at least to me – and the characters who lacked strength seemed to finally get it. (I won’t go into details – that would give too much away!!).
I would give this book 4 Stars!