Published By: Michael Joseph
Released On: 12/05/2022
1955: In an apartment on the Lower East Side, school teachers Dovie and Gillian live as lodgers. Dancing behind closed curtains, mixing cocktails for two, they guard their private lives fiercely. Until someone guesses the truth . . .
1975: Twenty years later in the same apartment, Ava Winters is keeping her own secret. Her mother has become erratic, haunted by something Ava doesn’t understand – until one sweltering July morning, she disappears.
Soon after her mother’s departure, Ava receives a parcel. Addressed simply to ‘Apartment 3B’, it contains a photo of a woman with the word ‘LIAR’ scrawled across it. Ava does not know what it means or who sent it. But if she can find out then perhaps she’ll discover the answers she is seeking – and meet the woman at the heart of it all . . .
Thanks to NetGalley and Michael Joseph for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.
Is there a book blogger out there who hasn’t wanted to get their hands on this book? I was desperate to read it but if I’m honest, I didn’t really know what it was about or what to expect, I just knew it was a story to read.
I really liked the dual timeline of the 1950s and the 1970s. They are separate stories, but the more you read the more the edges start to blur and you start to see their link and the evolution of their stories.
I did prefer the story set in the ‘50s to the ‘70s but I can’t put my finger on why. Perhaps because the protagonists are adults in this story but it’s a child in the later one and therefore closer to my age and more identifiable? Or there’s more flesh to the story? Or it’s more clear-cut whereas the ‘70s is almost more of a mystery? I’m not sure, but I can confirm it is a passionately and expertly written book.
It’s not always easy to read. The description of how LGBTQ people were treated in the ‘50s and how mentally ill people were treated in the ‘70s – two time periods that don’t seem that long ago – is hard to fathom, but I felt there was definitely a sense of respect from the author with these topics.
Overall it is beautiful but heartbreaking, warming but cold, full of love and of loss. But most of all it shows the importance of friends, family and above all else, love, in any and all guises.
I found the read went by really quickly which, in my opinion, is always a sign of an enjoyable and well written book.