This book begins with heartbreaking tragedy, then smooths the sharp edges into a gentle story that lulls you very quietly into a sense of complacency, right before ripping the world apart once more. The reader experiences what at first appears to be the complete story — two equal halves in alternating chapters — but understands later that parts are missing, deliberately omitted and carefully concealed. This unknowing gives the story its edge, it’s elusive feel, and kept me reading even though at times I wanted to scream at some of the characters. (Not just one, either. But mostly because I liked them, and I was trying to keep them from screwing up, so there’s that.)
It’s hard for me to give a sense of this book in a short space, but I don’t want to talk about it, I want you to go ahead and read it yourself. I am pretty sure Mackintosh left no genre unturned here, there’s a little something for everyone — fierce drama, crime fiction, light comedy and romance, thriller, and a beautiful setting with a sense of timelessness and history. The year is just beginning, start it off with a jolt.