That’s an awfully snarky review title from someone who quite liked this book, but there was a point where a character shows the tiniest hint of a dark side and immediately I thought “yep, there’s the plot twist. I bet REDACTED is actually REDACTED and at some point REDACTED.” And despite the fact that I was 100% correct, I still enjoyed finding out how it all came together, which is the mark of a pretty well-written book.
I also read this book at what may have been the exact right time, just as my own grandmother who was approximately the protagonist’s age passed away, and it was comforting to think of her as a young woman. The central mystery takes place a few years after WWII; homemaker Dorothy is greeted by a strange man, and her daughter witnesses her stab the stranger to death, but there’s nothing so sordid in my family history. It was just that during her daughter’s investigation of it – why her seemingly docile mother could be capable of violence required a better understanding of who she was before she became just “mom” – felt a little bit like what I was going through seeing photos of my grandmother at the same age, thinking of her as a young woman. And I often think about how my own child, not yet three, will consider the entirety of my life so far as a prelude to his own life.
So your mileage may vary, but I’m excited to read more Kate Morton – thanks Cannonballers who recommended her books as a next step for middle-class intrigue once I finished all the available Liane Moriarty novels – even if this one was as enjoyable for being the right book at the right time as much as the content.