I really hate when I put off writing a review for a book that I truly enjoyed. Once the immediate afterglow has faded and I’ve started on other books, I just can’t summon all the specific thoughts and feelings I had at the time. So I’m afraid this will sound much more tepid than I really felt about it.
Sarah Waters has a real genius for drawing characters and setting scenes and parceling out the information on both, that I hardly minded that absolutely nothing seems to happen, events-wise, over at least the first third of the book. The story has a strange construction – it starts at the end, wallows in the after effects of all the previous years’ events, then works backward so that you find out the events that led to the outcome on the characters and their situations. And of course,
there is no resolution, because the characters are not in a happy place at the beginning, which dims your pleasure in their happiness at the end, knowing that the beginning is their future.
And that makes so little sense to me writing it now, even though I already read the whole thing and understand it.
But this is a wonderful book for people who like to read moody character studies. I already know that I’m going to listen to it again, and it will be a new experience, because this time I’ll know *why* and *what happened*, and it will be again a different sort of book. I do have one recommendation to prospective readers, though. Start this one in bound format, then do it on audio the second time around. Juanita McMahon’s performance is fantastic and is not to be missed, but the story structure makes it very hard to follow on audio the first time around.