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No. I received an ARC from the publisher a few weeks ago. I entered to win a free copy on Facebook.
I loved this book. It was masterfully written. The characters were very drawn out. The spooky old boarding school environment also became a character. Lots of twists and turns. The use of history, neglect and abuse as well as ghosts all beautifully intertwine. I felt at the end the author left open room for a sequel.
I don't know what I expected, but this book disappointed me. I did not like the characters, except for the minor character, Aunt Isabelle. I felt that Hoffman got lost in her narrative and characters, and forgot the point of this story. Did they learn their lessons? No. Not really. Just 366 pages of fluff. I wish I picked another book instead.
I thought the title was hokey, almost like a Lifetime Movie. It turns out this mystery was so much better. This is a debut novel which will turn into a detective series. I like Gemma, she seemed realistic considering her history and background. I did not like some of her choices. She was sleeping with her partner. I kept thinking they can't have Felix in the series. I was not a fan of Felix. I do want to read the next book of Gemma mysteries.
I love this observation. I do feel if you were raised by a narcissist parent it will affect the you in some way. Both Cass and Emma were addicted to torturing their mother as was their mother was to manipulating them. Every thing Cass said seemed calculated. So I am afraid she will do similar things to her children.
Props need to be given to the author. Quite an undertaking. The book is near perfect. The author took a topic such as memory removal (reminds me of Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind) to identity change does it change behavior? How does isolation factor into it all? We have a handful of characters that are more developed and do play major roles in the story.
The writing sucks you in and the pace is fast until 2/3 way through then it seems to lose steam. The pace picks up again in the final 100 pages. I felt the ending was too tidy and wrapped up quite neatly for my taste. With subject such as memory and rehabilitation the ending should not have wrapped up that easily or neatly. I would have been OK with an ambiguous ending because it would better suit the subject matter.
Spoilers! I felt the book was beautifully written but slow to develop. You had to have patience and perseverance to continue. Fuller does encourage you by slowly unfolding the story. There is a pay off in the end that leaves things open to interpretation. I loved Ingrid's letters and how she hid them in books. How many times did it seem that Flora would open a book with a note and answer but would bump into or open another random book instead. Very clever! The pace picks up 2/3 into the book. This book made me think. I felt that all characters were fleshed out enough for the reader to get a general view and feel their individual situations. They were very human. I really didn't like Gil or Jonathon or Louise. I did like Ingrid and Flora a lot. I could see why Ingrid finally had enough and did what she did when she did. Was Ingrid alive and who set the fire? Aside from Gil cheating on Ingrid I thought the biggest betrayal was taking the book they wrote together their first summer together and publishing it under his name then dedicating it to Louise. Wow. Wondering if anyone else thought the same about the ending?