==Synopsis of the book:==
Frankie has had a hard and sad life, and despite being in her forties her life really hasn't even started. Having spent her later Childhood in a remand centre and following a fire at the home she admits to the crime heartbroken as her boyfriend she believe was killed in the fire. As a result she ends up in prison and without family support lonely and suicidal despite being completely innocent. She is befriended by Magda who upon her release brings her to her commune to live and work in Belgium,
However on a rare trip out of the commune her world is turned upside down when she sees her former dead lover boarding a train. The story follows Frankie's life and four other very different ladies Cassandra, Jenny, Pippa and Christina from all over the World, who all have one very unexpected thing in common, this man. He has played a key role in all of their very diverse lives but now this mystery man's past may be coming back to haunt him.
==My thoughts on this novel:==
I found this piece of fiction at the Charity Shop recently. I must admit I had never heard of Carol Smith before but I thought I would risk at as it only cost me 30p. My investment was rewarded with a well thought out and interesting read which I on the whole enjoyed.
Carol Smith is a very successful British author and this former literacy agent has written 14 books and now spends most of her time writing. 'Vanishing Point' was written in 2005 and it was for me what I would describe as a chick lit. As it tells a story from various women's perspectives and to deals a lot with emotions such as love and for me is a sensitive and well written piece of fiction.
Other than the price the first thing that stuck me about this book was its interesting title, I was immediately intrigued by it and wanted to know where the author was coming from with this concept. I flicked it over and read the summary which was quite short but full of information. In retrospect I think the author gave too much away and could have created more mystery by holding certain facts back from the reader.
However, as soon as I started reading the story. which impressively started with a relevant prologue that was full of not only promise but brought immediately a feeling of mystery and suspense into proceedings. I was really interested in Frankie's life and I wanted to know much more about her and what had happened to her. But at this point the author moved away from her and started to tell the story of the other four main characters in the story. What you had was a chapter on each, and I found while they were all different ladies, in different settings and with different lifestyles I did get confused at times who was who and some of the details about them. I think it was because the chapters where all quite short and once you had an update on a character you may not return to their lives for another five chapters.
Although I should say that because of the diversity of these women it was easy to remember where the story was with each character when it began again. I think this was because of the quality of the author's writing and her excellent way she managed to help your quickly and efficiently remember exactly where you were in the story. As a result I found the story flowed quite well but it did seem to take a long time for anything really to happen and I kept expecting more action and adventure within the story itself.
This certainly could not be levied against the concluding chapters which where action packed, full of surprise, suspense and very well thought out and exciting too. Indeed I thought it could quite easily have been expanded and a longer explanation given with an epilogue would have been a fitting end to what had become a fascinating story that had so many interesting possibilities.
I am sure this book would appeal to readers who enjoy a deep sensitive story with a twist or two along the way. The characters where all very good because they were so different, I thought the author had tried very hard to make them all memorable and this to a degree did work only occasionally would I confuse a couple of them. And with five central characters you are always bound to have a favourite and one you don't take too as much. For me this was the case and I wanted to hear more about Frankie and from my viewpoint the story could just have been about her trying to find this man who she thought had died in a house fire two decades earlier.
The book was quite long at 405 pages, but for me told an interesting story rather than an amazing one. It had most the elements that go to make up a complex story, although I did find myself annoyed from time to time with some of the characters in the story gullibility and the fact they knew so little about those closest to them. To be honest I found this unlikely and hard to believe and did cloud what was a well told and cleverly thought out story.
This was my first experience of the writings of Carol Smith and I was impressed by her storytelling ability. For me this was not an easy story to tell and maintain the readers interest but she did it admirably. I would recommend it as worth a read especially if like me you can pick it up on the cheap. For me I will definitely be looking to try another book from this author in the coming weeks. As I thought she had some excellent ideas and created some wonderful characters in this one.
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.
© CPTDANIELS June 2011