This is a literary mystery set primarily in Brisbane Australia. The genre and locale hooked me right away so I promptly requested a copy from NetGalley.
Imagine a famous author who publishes a ground breaking literary masterpiece, one people talk about and analyze over the years. The author has another book about to published, people eagerly awaiting the story, when a horrific tragedy strikes. The author dies in a warehouse fire, the flames destroying all copies of the latest book. Only fragments are recovered and her mourning fans and scholars are left with scraps of sentences, forever wondering about this lost masterpiece. That is the story of Inga Karlson, the author who became a legend.
The fragments of her manuscript along with photos of Inga and her personal belongings are exhibited around the world for decades. Loyal fans and scholars line up to view this exhibit, some of the devotees young enough to be Inga’s grandchildren. She is epic.
Cadence “Caddie” Walker’s obsession with Inga Karlson’s lost manuscript has her standing in line in the blazing Brisbane heat, awaiting the opening of the exhibition so she may view this collection. In line near Caddie is an old woman named Rachel Lehrer. She speaks with Caddie, asking what her favorite lines were from the scraps left of the book. In return, Rachel “quotes” this sentence fragment of the unpublished book.
And in the end, all we have are the hours and the days, the minutes and the way we bear them, the seconds spent on this earth and the number of them that truly mattered.
But that last part wasn’t written anywhere. Is it the imaginary conjuring of an old woman?
The book is divided in three parts. I thought the first part had a few slow spots, certainly not enough for me to abandon the book. I was very intrigued with the perspective back in the 1930’s about Rachel Lehrer and her family. When the story took that reminiscing turn to the past I was completely engaged. It hops with a fluid transition from 1986 and Caddie Walker’s obsession to the 1930’s story line. You don’t see what one has to do with another until part two of the book. Then the puzzle connects.
Nearing the end of part two I was on the fence regarding my feelings for Caddie. She was about to take up with someone I know isn’t a good person; someone who will use her up. I’m torn with the entwining stories of Rachel and Inga in the past and the Caddie/Jamie/Philip mess in the 1980’s. Caddie needs to be shaken by the shoulders as I, the reader, clearly knows what needs to be done here!
There is mystery, love, a snapshot of domestic violence in the 1930 era and a satisfying conclusion to the story. Also, a surprise about several characters in part three of the book. I would like to know what became of a few supporting characters but there certainly was a clear resolution. I would read more by this author.
Adventurous setting for me, Kookaburra and Queensland and Brisbane……I am armchair traveling again.
Food stuff: Chili Lentil Soup, pizzas of Margherita and vegetarian varieties, sundaes, cakes, chicken a la King.
Thank you very much Netgalley for this digital copy of the book. I received this complimentary copy and was not compensated for my opinion/review.