After reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry I had to read this companion. Queenie Hennessy is the reason for Harold's unexpected pilgrimage. SAfter reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry I had to read this companion. Queenie Hennessy is the reason for Harold's unexpected pilgrimage. She holds many secrets and regrets from her past work connection with Harold. I loved the way the author twined the two character's stories together and teased the reader with details of their lives that have been hidden and buried for years.
Some of the mysteries of Harold's son, David, were revealed in this sequel. Queenie's death is known from the beginning but finding out her secrets involving David helps solve some of the mystery and tragedy related to Harold's story. Finally, even the story in itself was sad, knowing that Queenie is able to forgive herself gives me as the reader a sense of closure. Because of the action she takes in revealing details of her connection to David, she can finally find peace and let go of the life she clung to while waiting for Harold. ...more
I've only read one other book by Kate Morton (The House at Riverton), and it's structured similarly to this one: mystery from 50+ years ago is being rI've only read one other book by Kate Morton (The House at Riverton), and it's structured similarly to this one: mystery from 50+ years ago is being remembered by an older person who was young at the time and investigated by someone else who is curious about what really happened.
Not sure if that's always Morton's modus operandi, but it's a premise that apparently works for me, because Morton's sucked me in both times. In this case, disgraced cop Sadie is drawn into the mystery of toddler who went missing over seventy years ago from the large lake house near her grandfather's current home in Cornwall. Alice Edevane, now a famous mystery author, is the toddler's older sister who thinks she knows what happened on that tragic night, but has never shared her secrets with anyone.
I loved the beginning of the story. I was turning the pages as quickly as I could, curious about the characters and what happened that night. However, about 2/3rds of the way, it slowed down for me. I think the author's purposeful misdirection became a little too obvious and it became frustrating to read.
Also, the ending . . . I sort of loved it, because I like stories where every loose end is accounted for, and this title does exactly that. However, coincidence much? C'mon. It just wasn't believable, and that took me out of the story I had been so infatuated with earlier. It was too much for me.
And, yet, . . . despite my issues with the author's heavy-handed machinations, it was a really good yarn with characters that I grew to care about.
So, I'd give it 3.5 stars, but I'll round up for goodreads.
This is the first Nicholas Sparks book I've read. I wasn't disappointed. The story tells of the love between John,an angry soldier, his distant fatherThis is the first Nicholas Sparks book I've read. I wasn't disappointed. The story tells of the love between John,an angry soldier, his distant father who most likely suffers from a form of Asperger Syndrome, and Savannah, the woman he meets and falls in love with. After 9/11, John reenlists and heads to war. This complicates their plans of marriage and forces both to decide what course their futures will take and whether their paths will remain one. The ending was unexpected and sad but at the same time understandable. Their decisions show what it means to truly love another more than yourself. I enjoyed it....more
Not for those who dislike ambiguous endings. I almost punched something at the end of this book.
I still don't love the ending, but after listening toNot for those who dislike ambiguous endings. I almost punched something at the end of this book.
I still don't love the ending, but after listening to an interview with author, I guess I understand why he left things open-ended.
Anyhow, the basics: the "Rapture" has occurred around the world. However, unlike most rapture predictors suggest, millions of people of all religious creeds are taken - not just professed Christians.
The story focuses on the reaction to this event in the small Midwest town of Mapleton, in particular one family - mom Laurie, dad Kevin, daughter Jill, and son Tom. No one from their family disappeared, but each of them lost friends - Jill, in fact, lost a friend who was sitting right next to her watching youtube videos.
The novel feels very much like how we would react to such an event. A few weeks, maybe a month, of high alert, grief, and fear. But three years later, things have fallen into a "new normal." It's human nature to try to maintain the status quo and make ourselves comfortable and give ourselves reasons and stories for why tragedy happens.
Each member of the family tries to find their own way to understand their loss. There are some very funny moments, and some heartbreaking ones, and some that just make you want to shake the person (Laurie mostly). But that makes the characters feel human.
However, the ending was very ambiguous. Yes, you could say it's the only time in the book where the characters find life rather than losing the people they care about - so thematically it fits, but I guess I like to know that characters I care about are all right in the end - but you don't get that "closure" here - again, much like real life.
In the interview, the author talked about how he wanted to use the rapture as a metaphor for death - after all, aren't we all going to disappear at some point? So, it is interesting to think about how we daily live with loss and death, even while living our ordinary lives.
The author also said that when he began, he planned to write a comic novel, but realized over the course of writing it that it had turned into a tragedy.
All in all, characters that really pulled me in, just felt like the story meandered and ultimately didn't lead anywhere . . . I think.