This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Debs Carr
This debut novel is the story of two sisters, Alice and Natalie Kessler, and the deep secrets one has held from the other for generations. It moves in time from 1963, when the sisters are staying at their parents’ holiday home by a lake, meet Thomas Beyber a young artist, and each girl forms a relationship with him. It then goes to 2007, when the artist, now in his seventies and in poor health, summons an old friend and archivist of his works, Professor Finch, a recently widowed art historian and Stephen Jameson, a young, disgraced art authenticator. Thomas shows them a painting of the two sisters and himself, and Stephen realising that it’s part of a triptych is delighted to be sent to discover the other two parts of this valuable piece. However the sisters moved away from their family home decades ago and there doesn’t seem to be any trace of them at all.
Stephen and the older Professor Finch, one not driving and the other hating planes, have to find a way to find the women. They then need to discover firstly, what happened to the girls now women in their fifties, and secondly, if Alice and Natalie have any idea what happened to the missing parts of the triptych, and if they do, will the men be able to persuade the sisters to reveal the whereabouts of the paintings?
The first third of this book was very slow for me, I only kept reading because I was reviewing it and although the story picked up after a few chapters, it still took a while for me to become very interested in the sisters and the search for the missing paintings. However, by the final third of the book I was intrigued as the different layers of this story were peeled back and slowly discovered the secrets belonging to each of the characters and the triptych. I would have probably preferred reading less about Alice’s knowledge of birds, or Stephen and the Professor’s travel arrangements, and much more about Natalie and Alice’s life leading up to the present day. A slow-burner, but a worthwhile story in the end.
Tracy Guzeman’s Website