I picked this one up for the RIP challenge, as I've heard it compared to books like Shadow of the Wind and The Book of Lost Things. I'm pretty sure I'm the last blogger to read this book, so I'm not going to do much recap. This has been called a book for book lovers as our narrator, Margaret Lea, is the operator of a bookshop and longtime bibliophile, preferring the company of books to the company of people. As the novel moves forward, Margaret finds herself working with an incredibly famous though reclusive author, Vida Winter. Winter has hired Margaret to tell the author's untold life story. The novel holds certain parallels to Victorian classics that are mentioned throughout; most notably Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Turn of the Screw, to name a few.
For me, the narrative had a few moments of suspense but overall I found the twists underwhelming and the plot filled with conveniences. The biggest problem that I had with the book was that I found it to be over-narrated; characters and ideas rarely spoke for themselves, instead our narrator told us everything, including the obvious, and never let me assess things for myself. The narration made the story too accessible, giving it an almost juvenile, corny feel:
Everybody has a story. It's like families. You might not know who they are, might have lost them, but they exist all the same. You might drift apart or you might turn your back on them, but you can't say you haven't got them. Same goes for stories.Aside from that it was an engaging story in parts, but lacking in its delivery. I know I'm in the minority with this one, it just didn't do it for me.