Thursday, 28 July 2016

All that we see is not all that is there

Brighton, 1938:  Grace Kemp is pushed away by the family she has shamed.  Rejected and afraid, she begins a new life as a nurse.  But danger stalks the hospital too, and she'll need to be on her guard to avoid falling into familiar traps.  And then there aer the things she sees ... Strange portents that have a way of becoming real.

Eighty years later, Mina Morgan is brought to the same hospital after a near-fatal car crash.  She is in terrible pain but recalls nothing,  She's not even sure whom to trust.  Mina too sees things that others cannot, but now, in hospital her visions are clearer than ever...

Two women, separated by decades, are drawn together by a shared space and a common need to salvage their lives.

Having recently finished this book I really don’t know what I feel or even how these two stories were related to each other.  I thought the end was rather rushed and did not tie the two stories together as far as I was concerned.  This is really a book of two halves; one a psychological thriller and the other a historical novel (to a point).  The element that ties the two stories together is the supernatural element that is spooky and certainly well done being an integral part of the story as it is shared by both the women in the book.

That said I will deal with each part separately.  In the psychological part the tension was built gradually.  As the reader is aware of the larger picture we see the larger picture and often want to yell at the Mina just to warn her of the impending danger. 

The historical part of the novel could be said to be a friendship saga.  We are also told about the daily grind of a student nurse (Grace), the lowest rung on the medical hierarchy.

Mina is a surprisingly strong character but still vulnerable and from part of her back story she is not the most likeable person, yet after the accident see sees people, things and herself in a different light.  In contrast, Grace is naïve and also vulnerable but she grows the most throughout the book and gains both strength and determination.

But detailed characterisation is not just reserved for the main character but is also given to the supporting cast such as Grace's best friend and roomie Evie and to Mina's Aunt Pat thereby enriching the main characters and giving the story more depth.

The one element that joins these two women together is they are able to see things that others cannot – a sort of second sight.  This is also where the two stories sort of come together.  Mina is hospitalised and starts to see Grace.  It just so happens that the hospital that Mina is in was where Grace worked many years ago.  Never once did Mina cross into Grace’s timeline.

As far as this reader was concerned there were quite a few unresolved issues.  Why did Grace go into nursing? Why did Grace reach out to Mina? Why was there no other obvious connection between the two women?

Perhaps the two stories should have been dealt with as two separate novels and thereby each story could have received better treatment, the back story (of which I am sure there is a great deal in each case) could have been told, and some of the unresolved issues could have been cleared up.

Take all this together and add an element of romance and you have a novel that is difficult to pigeon-hole with is clearly written, well plotted yet entertaining and annoying in equal measure.  But the ending did leave this reader rather flat but that is just my opinion.  Form you own by reading this strangely haunting book.

Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to provide an honest review in exchange for receiving this book which I rated as 'It was OK' on Goodreads and Amazon.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tania, thanks for your lovely comment on my blog, I ave checked the dream catcher, it is out of stock at the moment but if you e-mail Tracy she tell you if she's getting more, hugs Liz xx