Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!
While I have not been reading as much as I usually do, when I received this ARC in the mail I knew I needed to start it right away! As I shared in my most recent monthly wrap-up, this novel was originally written and published in Germany. After receiving a lot of hype there, it was translated into English and published just a few weeks ago in North America!
In a windowless shack in the woods, Lena’s life and that of her two children follows the rules set by their captor, the father: Meals, bathroom visits, study time are strictly scheduled and meticulously observed. He protects his family from the dangers lurking in the outside world and makes sure that his children will always have a mother to look after them.
One day Lena manages to flee–but the nightmare continues. It seems as if her tormentor wants to get back what belongs to him. And then there is the question whether she really is the woman called “Lena,” who disappeared without a trace 14 years ago. The police and Lena’s family are all desperately trying to piece together a puzzle which doesn’t quite seem to fit.
This was one wild thriller! While the ending was a tad over used in thrillers that begin with people being kidnapped by literal psychopaths, I really enjoyed all of the events that lead up to the ending. The overall plot line was very suspenseful, and I managed to read this book in just a few days. There were a lot of interesting clues that were snuck into the middle of this novel, which I did not predict when they were finally revealed!
One aspect of this novel that I particularly enjoyed was the unreliable narrator present in this novel. This book is written mostly in the perspective of three characters, the woman who got kidnapped, her daughter, and her Father (whom she hasn’t seen in over 16-years). Throughout the novel, I regularly thought that at least one of the narrators was unreliable, untrustworthy, or just flat out crazy. While they all have some mental issues (rightfully so), I enjoyed the confusion that I had when reading this book, and I think that element of it made it even more suspenseful to read.
I also enjoyed the fact-paced and suspenseful writing style. As I mentioned previously, this book was a translated work, and while I never read the original writing, I believe that all of the story was perfectly translated and made perfect since in English. Some translated works of fiction lose their “magic” after they have been translated, sometimes it is because of the writing choices or style that the translator uses, and I thought that this translator did an excellent job in translating this book in English to a predominantly North American and European readership.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and gave it 4.25/5-stars. Thanks again to Raincoast Books for sending me an ARC!
Good Night Book Owls!