== Plot ==
Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is yourself... Eliza Cummings is leaving work one cold winter night when she receives an unexpected phone call. On the other end of the phone is a voice which makes her heart stand still and takes her back twenty-five years - to the night Rose died. Eliza doesn't understand why Rose's father wants her to visit him or why is he killing her with kindness when they both know that he blames her for what happened to his daughter.
Grief and guilt cast terrible shadows, but as the story unfolds and the setting shifts from London (where Eliza currently lives) to the fairy tale landscape of the Swedish countryside (where Rose's father lives) - and back in time to Eliza's school days - we learn that generosity, humour and friendship can smooth over and restore even the most broken lives, and that some secrets just can't be kept hidden...
What happened on that dark night twenty-five years ago?
== My Opinion ==
I really enjoyed this book and read it fairly quickly as I wanted to find out what was going to happen. The book is set across the past and present and it flows smoothly between the two. The past is set in the boarding school where Eliza and Rose go to school and we learn about them and their friends (mainly Portia and Sandra/Cassandra). The story alternates between characters which I think is an effective way for the story to be told.
From the beginning of the book we know that Rose drowned but that's all we are told and it is through reading the story of the past that we learn how this happened.
I was intrigued to learn about the characters in the story and I empathised with them at different points. I found myself relating differently to the Eliza at school and the Eliza in the present day. I think this demonstrates good writing skills as even though they are the same person, we are reading about a teenager and a middle aged woman, therefore I feel it is important to relate to them both in different ways.
I was hooked on the book and found myself eagerly awaiting what was going to happen, however, I still felt a little detached from the characters. I felt like I was observing them all but not actually being drawn into their lives. I think this was due to the way it was written and I kept questioning things that were happening and couldn't quite decided who I should like and who I should have doubts about. I related to and empathised with all of the characters at some point in the book though and it made for an addictive read.
I enjoyed how the story not only switched between past and present, but also between London and Sweden, and this was written beautifully. I particularly enjoyed reading about Eliza's time in Sweden with Rose's father, Eliza's Godfather.
Part way through the book, we appear to find out something that is quite shocking but we don't know until later on in the book the exact details of this, which is another element which kept me reading.
Although, the main focus of the story is on the fact that Rose drowned, it is written in a beautiful way and looks at how something that happens many years ago can still affect your life today. Apart from death, there are other themes in the book such as love, friendship, guilt and forgiveness. I think there was just enough of each to balance the story nicely.
I was satisfied with the ending, although part of it did come as a shock. I read this book in two days as once I started I found I needed to keep reading. It's not the best book I've read but it is certainly one that I would recommend.
I've not read anything by this author previously but I will be looking out for more of her work in the future.
== Other ==
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (1 Aug 2011)
I read this on my kindle and purchased it for 99p as one of the Deal's of the Day. It is now priced at £5.10 to download, not the bargain I got but still worth it for this book. The paperback currently sells for £7.43 on amazon.
Definitely worth a read! Thanks for reading!