'She felt herself slipping far away beneath the surface of life, where nothing could reach her, where there was no love, no pain, and there was no point in hoping.'
'Sometimes I felt the world was too unfair, so when things got really bad I wrote stories. I loved the way you could make up anything you wanted.'
It was powerful stuff for me as a reader, to know what each of them was going through, and I was desperately willing things to come right, for the truth to be revealed. The structure was one I liked; chapters with Emma narrating in the first person, and then Lydia's experiences told of in the third person, and both voices held my attention, though I admit to warming most of all to Emma. My favourite passage from the book is one of Emma's thoughts;
'...I imagined a fine line that wound halfway round the world. It was the invisible thread that stretched from west to east and back again; one end was attached to my mother's heart and the other to mine. And, I knew, whatever might happen, that thread would never be broken.'
Those words really struck me and felt so heartfelt and moving, they conveyed to me how strong the emotional attachment was between Lydia and Emma, that it could not and would not be broken despite them not being together physically.
I don't want to slip into giving any spoilers as to how the tale unfolds; I would say that I liked in particular the characters Emma and Lydia and the very strong bond between them, and I admired Veronica on how she conducted herself. Lydia showed courage and kindness in caring for the young child Maz whose mother has abandoned him we are told. One character's deceitful behaviour was to me unbearably, terribly cruel and I could not wait for the moment when this might finally be exposed. There are various intriguing strands to the story, beginning right at the prologue, which made me wonder and which are brought together and resolved by the end of the novel in a successful way.
I found this an absorbing story that took me to a destination unfamiliar to me, opened my eyes to another place and time in our history, and it is a beautifully written story with plenty of tension and depth. A very good read throughout with a heart wrenching last hundred pages or so; I felt emotional towards the end as the last few stages of the story were played out. I had been deeply drawn into Emma's and Lydia's worlds and still think about them after closing the book. A gorgeous book cover too. Many thanks to the author for kindly sending me a copy of her novel to read and give an honest review