This was an Oprah’s Book Club choice and
I’ve heard rumours of Anita Shreve writing “chick-lit”, so I didn’t really know
how hefty this was going to be. A pilot’s wife receives the news that her
husband’s plane has exploded and there are no survivors. She follows her grief
and her daughter’s devastation through the suggestion that it was suicide and
into the (entirely unexpected) conclusion.
I found this a struggle to read – it’s
emotionally difficult and I loathe flying, planes and everything to do with
them, so to read the story of the aftermath of a crash was harrowing – but
enthralling. The characters are strongly rendered, the coastal countryside
beautifully represented and the moves back and forth between the immediate
aftermath of the crash and the history of the relationships are fluidly
I was disappointed by the twist – I saw it
coming a little faster than the wife did, but not quickly – but it seemed such a
let-down in a good character. The developments then seemed a bit far-fetched,
but certainly riveting and heart-gripping.
All in all, an engrossing read, fascinating
characters, slightly disappointing plot (not from lack of suspense, but from
lack of justice to the characters).