It begins with a murder. The police are studying the fresh crime scene, in someone’s kitchen with a body that was viciously and repeatedly stabbed. One of the detectives sees what might be a significant piece of evidence and we know it probably will be. Then, we’re taken back in time a few weeks…
This story is told in flashbacks through three narratives. Josephine (Joey) Mullin is a young, recent newlywed living with her brother and sister-in-law in the Melville Heights neighborhood in Bristol. She always wanted to live in one of the iconic painted houses and now she is, along with her husband Alfie, contentedly until the day she sees Tom Fitzwilliam. He’s much older and a school headmaster. Her obsession with him is inexplicable. Freddie Fitzwilliam, Tom’s 14-year old son, is a prodigy with a penchant for “observing” others around him, not always appropriately. And, Jenna Tripp, one of Tom’s students, becomes suspicious of him and his relationship with her best friend. She isn’t certain he’s worthy of the fine reputation he’s given and she’s got her eyes on him. Her mother, Frances, who seems to be suffering from paranoid delusions, now includes Tom in her sights (along with a few others).
I loved how the story began with an unidentified dead body and quickly transitioned back a few weeks and allowed me to get to know each of the three narrators who, between them, created a vivid picture of the neighborhood and its dynamics. Seeing everyone through those differing lenses kept me questioning every supposition. This was a finely written illustration of a slow burn where I appreciated the time taken to develop the story and the characters, not taking what I was ‘“seeing” or “hearing” at face value as not everyone could be relied upon to be truthful, let alone open.
Every time I settled in to listen to this story I prepared myself for superior storytelling. I loved the journey and the ultimate reveal was beyond satisfying. And! The last page delivered a true jaw dropping moment (though I’d had a suspicion!) that left me with a sense of finality I don’t often appreciate in a good book. It was perfect. Gabrielle Glaister gave a fabulous performance, creating distinctions for each of the narratives and making it creepy and sinister by scaling back at the perfect moments. This was my first book by Jewel and I own another that I plan to jump right into. I find her writing style most appealing.
- Release Date: December 26, 2018
- Narrator: Gabrielle Glaister
- Audio Length: 10 hours, 53 minutes
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(I received an advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review)