Genre: Contemporary Fiction
This novel is something of a mystery in that it opens with Alice hiding something, something that we are led to believe has to do with the disappearance of her little brother. So of course, my mind raced with questions. What is Alice hiding, what does she know about what happened to Theo? Is she hiding Theo's body? It seems a possibility, and it makes you why a young girl would hide the body of her baby brother. Did she murder him? It takes a while before any of these questions are answered. The novel shifts to the present day where Sadie Sparrow, a police detective is visiting her grandfather in Cornwall. Here, she becomes aware of the story of Theo and his disappearance and begins investigating what might have happened to the young boy.
The novel is interesting in that we hear from a full cast of characters that include Alice, Sadie, Alice's parents Eleanor and Anthony, as well as her assistant Peter, and even on two occasions, from baby Theo himself. Their knowledge contributes to layering the plot and nudging the reader along in detecting what might have happened to young Theo. At first, it seems as though Alice might hold all of the answers, but it quickly becomes apparent that she does not. Because Sadie has been trying to contact her, Alice decides to enlist Sadie's help in unearthing the truth. Family secrets are revealed builiding up new theories and discounting others until finally, the truth outs.
I like happily ever afters, and it's good to know that little Theo did not meet an unhappy ending. However, I figured out exactly what had happened to Theo before it happened, and who Theo really was before it was revealed. Either the author intended me to come to these conclusions, or the mystery wasn't all that well shrouded. In this respect, the novel wasn't all that gripping. There were no surprises for me really, everything was neatly drawn for the reader, and the parts that were hidden I figured out before the author got around to depicting. For a novel so carefully plotted and written with so much attention to detail, it fell a little short.
This was enjoyable in many respects however, and the writing certainly does draw you in as do the characters and their stories, which are all building to uncovering the mystery of what happened to baby Theo. I was certainly never bored, though at times I felt as though certain parts were dragging a bit. A well crafted novel, and perfect for those who enjoy fleshed out plots and characters with a bit of mystery.