It is summer 1989, and fifteen-year-old Clotilde is on holiday with her parents in Corsica. On a twisty mountain road, their car comes off at a curve and plunges into a ravine. Only Clotilde survives.
Twenty-seven years later, she returns to Corsica with her husband and their sulky teenage daughter. Clotilde wants the trip to do two things – to help exorcise her past, and to build a bridge between her and her daughter. But in the very place where she spent that summer all those years ago, she receives a letter. From her mother. As if she were still alive.
As fragments of memory come back, Clotilde begins to question the past. And yet it all seems impossible – she saw the corpses of her mother, her father, her brother. She has lived with their ghosts. But then who sent this letter – and why?
There are lots of intelligent components in this international thriller; The backstory in the form of a real-time teenage diary. Corsica’s way of life that is often at odds with the legal system and government that allows illegality to go unpunished and the parallels between the family in August 1989 and the family in 2016.
The characterisation is convincing and compelling, through Clotilde’s eyes they come alive both in the past and present. The twisty plot takes away as many clues as it gives and to truly understand it you must accept the Corsican culture’s uniqueness.
Compelling and detailed it’s a page-turning read but a very long story. The repetition is necessary for the story as Clotilde’s memories return but this adversely affects the pacing and reduces the impact of the revelations.
There is an overriding sadness to this story of loss and, so many lives blighted but the ending is adrenaline-fueled and suspenseful, and the balance of good and evil returns.
I received a copy of this book from the Orion Publishing Group W&N via NetGalley in return for an honest review.