*This review was originally posted on Skattered Notes Blog.com*
BUY THE BOOK
Published: Feb 3, 2015
What drew me to this book was not only the beautiful cover, but the mysterious title. I had questions such as “Who was missing?” and “What is the whales connection?” when i picked up my copy of the novel. Because this was Lucy Atkins’ debut novel, I had no previous background on her writing style.
As Lucy Atkins shares in the video above, the story starts with the death of Kali’s mother – Elena. Kali is going through a lot at this period of her life, a lot due to her uncertainties about things and the people in her life. As I turned the pages, it was obvious that Kali holds a grudge against her mom, while desperately seeking closure. The novel is written from two sides: as a flashback from Elena’s life, and as a present scene depicted by Kali.
Although I found this going back and forth between the past and the present a bit difficult to digest the novel and progress through it, I also was surprised by how well each scene was described. Lucy Atkins had me wrapped up in her beautiful imageries, and I felt transported to the British Columbia she so well describes. Despite the fact that at times some narratives seemed a bit too long for my taste, I couldn’t resolve to leave the book without having reached its end.
As Kali meets Susannah, the woman who has been sending her mother postcards for years, in an attempt to learn more about the woman her mother really was, the story starts to take a very interesting turn. The novel becomes darker and darker, with angry landscapes and muted notes. I found my heartbeat pick up a bit as I felt the danger nearing Kali and her baby Finn. I wanted her to stop searching for the truth regarding her mother and just go back to England, to her comfort zone. But as I worried for her and Finn, I also wanted to discover the secrets that had been hidden from her her whole life.
As a debut novel, I must say that Lucy Atkins set the bar pretty high. The tone was right, the narratives and characters were strong. There was no unnecessary word uttered, no unnecessary scene. Everything fell into place by the end of the novel, just like a puzzle game, revealing the big picture. It took me a while to get through the book, because it was so intense with descriptions of whales and Elena’s work with them, I felt the need to put it down to absorb it fully. I could have done without such detailed accounts of whale-studies,but I understand that they were necessary for the sake of the story-line. Now, I will admit that it also took a while to even understand where the story was going, with all the back and forth between Elena’s past and Kali’s present. However, I am glad I stuck with it, as as soon had Kali reached Susannah, the book began to climax. Overall I did enjoy this book, which is really packed with intensity leading to a discovery of a really dark past. I think readers of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and lovers of anything thrilling/dark will enjoy this book.