Since Gone Girl , there seems to be a rash of books that tell the same story from multiple perspectives and through the eyes of broken characters. While this book may not be as good as Gone Girl (in my opinion) it may have a broader appeal than the Gillian Flynn’s pair of unlikable sociopaths could muster. I have not read any of the other standalone novels written by Sharon Bolton but have read the Lacey Flint series. Of all her books that I have read, this one is easily her finest work. While I have continually taken issues with elements of Bolton’s writing style, I found that I was compelled to read this novel and did not want to put it down. Despite any issues, I believe it deserves a full 5 stars.
Catrin Quinn is an unhappy woman. You can’t fault her for this. Several years earlier, her two children died in an unfortunate accident that was due to the negligence of her best friend. Catrin wants to kill her former best friend. She has lost her children and in her pain lost her husband and lost her lover. As the eve of the death of her children approaches, a young child goes missing. As the days pass, most assume the child has died or has been killed. This is not the first young child to have gone missing on the remote Falkland Islands. Catrin is thrust into the midst of the investigation of the missing child and she is forced to deal with the death of her own children while others grieve the loss of theirs. Catrin must face her repressed feelings as she has to confront the people that she has shut out of her life.
I want to make this clear. I gave this book 5 stars because I enjoyed it. I found it entertaining and difficult to put down. This was largely due to the wonderful characterization. Catrin, Rachel and Callum where created with great care and detail. I found each of them to be interesting, layered and believable. A quick review of my reviews with show that I am a sucker for a novel with great characters.
My love of great characters allows me to overlook issues with the a plot. Honestly, this book had issues with the plot. Plot issues have been an ongoing issue with Bolton novels and this one is no exception. There are situations that are downright preposterous and some elements were contrived. If you want to specifics on these issues, take a look at my Goodreadss review where I have some spoilers highlighted. Given these issues, those readers that are not as enamoured with great characters may find this novel less than 5 stars. While I certainly could have given it less, I enjoyed the ride.
Great characters and sketchy plot aside, the novel featured one of the most entertaining and atmospheric settings I have read. The Falkland Island serve as the backdrop for the story. The setting is remote, lonely and isolated and serves as a depressive force and serves as an ominous and looming presence throughout. The nature of the setting contributed to the nature of the characters.
On some levels, this book is not a 5 star read. I would give the plot 3 stars, the characters 5 stars and the setting 5 stars. The flaws in the plot did not interfere with my enjoyment of the story. If you have contemplated reading a Sharon Bolton novel, you can’t go wrong starting with this one. It is truly one of her best and an excellent example of her writing style. If you enjoy this you will certainly enjoy her other offerings.
If You Liked…
I think that fans of The Girl on the Train will find lots to love here. While the plot is not as tight, the characterization and multiple perspectives will feel familiar and comfortable. Excellent characterization rules the day in both novels and these stories peppered with broker and hurting people.