I had read several reviews on Amazon before starting this book and wasn't sure what to expect; people either loved or hated it. I was in the middle. The story does go back and forth each chapter to a different time frame in the characters lives so you do have to keep up.
It starts out with Tommy who's 13 and visiting his mom for the last time before she goes to the gas chamber. The rest of the book weaves the lives of Tommy, his parents, his sister, and goes between the U.S. and England. The biggest help while reading it is to remember: Tommy = childhood & Tom = adult.
I have to agree with past reviews that the title of this book really has nothing to do with the book itself. The story is good with a few shocks but overall I just felt a little let down by the time it ended. I feel I can't say too much without giving much of the plot away. Was it worth the read? Yeah. Would I read it again? No.
I don't feel this is nearly as good as Evans' previous books. I loved he first three books (Horse Whisperer, The Loop, and Smoke Jumper.) His forth, The Divide, was very slow starting, but picked up as the book went on. But this was the first book, of his, that I just couldn't even finish. His previous book showed his knack for leaving you on the edge of your seat at the end of each chapter making it hard to put the book down. This one didn't have much, if any suspense. I read half the book and decided that was enough.
This book was beautiful. Which sounds like a weird way to describe a book, especially one with a few murders in the plot... But beautiful is such a great word for it.
The characters were all great. I loved Tommy and Diane. Cal was another great character. The story follows Tommy through his life growing up in England, moving to Hollywood, and eventually "settling down" in Montana. The whole way through I was so captivated by what he was going through. The opening scene with Tommy and his mother is so captivating that I couldn't help but care what happens to Tommy through the rest of the story.
The writing was beautiful in this story. Since it was an audiobook that I read I can imagine some of the imagery was as much from the writing as it was from the narrator's voice. But either way I could see everything that was going on. The descriptions weren't long and drawn out, but everything I saw in my head was on a large scale. I didn't just see where the action was happening, if they were in a room I saw the whole room, if they were outside I could see the whole scaling landscape around the area. I think the writing and the narration were such a perfect fit for each other that this book really was able to take on a life of it's own for me.
The story itself was great also. The story jumps around in Tommy's life. Each part of the story answers one question and then raises another. Even when the story jumps forward it somehow is able to answer the questions from the past... The story wasn't always fast-paced, but it wasn't boring either. Everything about this story just hit that perfect balance.
The narrator for this one was amazing. I don't like to see who narrates before I start and audiobook because then as I'm listening to the book all the characters take on the narrator (especially if it is someone famous). While I was listening I kept thinking to myself this voice is so familiar, and when I finished and looked to see who it was I realized why I liked the narration so much. Michael Emerson has such a great voice. I loved Lost, and even though I didn't so much like Ben I do like the guy who plays Ben. He was able to give each of the characters their own voice, without making them sound fake or "put on". I loved the narration as much as I loved the story.
A review copy of this title was provided by Hachette Book Group.