I lost this book on the airplane about halfway through reading it and couldn’t be bothered to retrieve it. See, I had put it down to get water or arrange something in my carryon bag and it slipped down between the wall of the plane and my seat in such a way that I couldn’t easily get to it*. I just didn’t care enough to stay on the plane in order to get it back. It’s fine, I guess, but it’s hardly Moriarty’s best work, and honestly it irritated me. I had also snuck a peak at the end of the book so that I could confirm that the book was going exactly where I thought it was, so the mystery suspense wasn’t there either.
Cecilia Fitzpatrick finds a letter her husband wrote after the birth of their first daughter to be opened in the event of his death. The contents of the letter contain a terrible secret and half the book is Cecilia debating whether or not to read the letter, though by the time she finally decides to I had figured out exactly what the contents were. This is the point where I lost the book and I’m pretty sure the rest of the book deals with the repercussions of people finding out about the terrible (EVIL, EVIL. OMG THIS MAN DOES NOT DESERVE THE SYMPATHY MORIARTY IS TRYING TO GIVE HIM. HE’S A TEXTBOOK “NICE GUY” AND SOMEONE DIED BECAUSE OF IT) secret he’s been hiding for over thirty years. My biggest issue with the book is there under the spoiler text, which is extremely spoilery. In less spoilery terms, while I appreciate that Moriarty writes shades of grey into her characters, it doesn’t work for me here. This is not an event where I can sympathize with the perpetrator of the event at all, not even in the potential loss of his family, and I think Moriarty was trying to make the issue in question far more ambiguous than it is. I’m sure that if I’d finished the novel it would have been more nuanced, but I was over half-way through the book and it hadn’t gotten there yet.
I’m fairly sure my negative reaction to this book is partialy influenced by the circumstances I read it in. Cranky and tired and delayed in an airport isn’t really the best mood to read a book, so minor irritations can leap out and become huge ones. However, I still don’t think this is the best work Moriarty has done, and I think you could probably skip it unless you’re a completest kind of fan.
*It was also the second leg of my trip, which had been delayed FOUR HOURS and I was beyond exhausted; having been up for about 16 hours at that point. I am one of those ‘must get to the airport 3 hours early and make sure I’m awake 4 hours before that because I COULD MISS MY PLANE OMG’- Anxiety is the WORST you guys.