This is the story of Emily who has everything – a lovely, safe life in Manchester, husband, child, security. Suddenly it is all ripped away from her – the author leaves us guessing right the way through the book as to what exactly has happened to cause Emily to ac as she did – and Emily ceases to be. She runs away to London and becomes Cat, where she embarks on quite a seedy life for a while, desperately trying to escape the pain and torment that her past has caused.
She almost succeeds too, she gets a good job, has a life of sorts and finally begins to feel she has outrun her past. But her new life comes crashing down around her on the anniversary of the day her life had previously fallen apart.
At the very beginning of this book one senses they will be rather perplexed by the plot. The plot has more twists and turns in it than I was really comfortable with, it launches back and forth from past to present and from the main protagonist to less important characters, then back to the protagonist again. This gives the story a rather disjointed feel, at times it feels very confusing and frustrating.
My biggest grumble, however, is at the very end of the story where we jump so far into the future. This did not really work for me, the end of the present day story felt as though it had been unresolved and the lack of use of characters names in the narrative was very frustrating.
I am not sure how I felt about Emily/Cat. Emily was a character I could believe in, but Cat seemed as disjointed as the story. I guess that was the point, given all she was running away from and all she had endured. I just felt unable to warm to her though and many times wondered how she had managed to let her life slip so out of control. Again, the effects of grief and suffering can do many a strange thing to a person who was once of sound mind.
The big sting in the tale is Charlie. It bugged me so much I read several reviews – whilst still only half way through the book – until I learnt the truth about Charlie. This did not make me feel any better, it left me angrier at Emily/Cat, although I am pleased I had read up on that particular plot twist rather than having it thrust upon me in the natural way.
I have to give this book four stars. It is a gripping tale of love and loss and makes the reader feel like they are enduring the roller coaster of emotions that the characters are experiencing. The ending stops me from giving it full marks – sorry, I felt so dissatisfied with it all.
**** 4 stars