This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Kelly Allen
A ghost, a broken hearted widower, a man with serious OCD, and twins that are bound to a specific contract… should they choose to accept. It’s all a bit too much to take in. Audrey Niffenegger is fantastic at writing people and places, but loses the plot with the plot itself in this book!
The story begins well; a mystery apartment, an Aunt Elspeth that was never known to the twins, Julia and Valentina, and a chance of adventure. Who could refuse? The descriptions of London and the view from the apartment over Highgate Cemetery are intricately breath taking, but the story falls flat when the love story begins between two of the living characters.
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It all seems so unreal and impossible, a feeling that only grows as the novel unravels to the point that Elspeth (the ghost) will help Valentina fake her own death for a short while so that she can have her freedom from her twin sister. Their plan goes wrong, and Elspeth ends up keeping the ‘body’ for herself so that she can attempt to live out the remainder of her life with their shared lover, Robert.
Valentina and Julie begin to connect towards the end of the novel, whilst Elspeth and Robert’s ending is far from happy. The novel has plenty of twists and turns, however a lot of them are pretty unbelievable or terribly clichéd. The characters are neither here nor there, and at no point did I feel any connection or empathy towards any of them. In fact, the only love story that made me feel connected was that of Martin and Marijke; his OCD has driven them apart and when they reunite and he overcomes his fears, there is a sense of complete happiness within the book for the first (and final) time.
If you like a lot of detailed descriptions and a plotline that is mostly predictable, then you might enjoy this novel. However, after reading The Time Traveler’s Wife, it is very difficult not to expect ‘something’ from this book, even if it was another beautifully written love story. If you plan to read this with the hope that it will be remotely similar, then you will be disappointed.