Well, I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It wasn't quite the mystery that _A Dark Dividing_ was and the plot wasn't quite as intricately developed but there was a similar layering effect to and an element of mystery that I found quite fascinating. It was just really terrific! I loved the inclusion of WWII, but I admit I was surprised that as dark as this novel was, it didn't go even darker... Still, I really liked it. It was nearly as impossible to put down as _A Dark Dividing_ was. What a talented author! I am really looking forward to reading more of her books! I just wish they were a bit easier to find in this country!
Story line was very good and kept you guessing what would happen next. It jumped from present to past a lot but was easy to grasp where you were. A very true like story that surely has a lot of history and old memories. I would highly recommend this book.
I liked this "who done it" mystery. It pretty much kept me guessing till the end and the writing style was enjoyable. Many interesting characters as well.
Lucy Trent is used to having the legend of her disreputable grandmother disinterred from time to time - the infamous silent-screen actress Lucretia von
Wolff, whose lovers were legion, whose scandals were numerous, whose life ended abruptly in a bizarre double murder and suicide at the Ashwood film studios
in 1952. Lucy rather enjoys Lucretia's legend - although most of the family would prefer it to be quietly forgotten. But when a body is found in the now-derelict
studios, brutalised in a macabre echo of the 50-year-old case, disturbing facts about the past begin to emerge...Facts which point back to the eerie legend
of the child known simply as Alraune. The child named after Lucretia's most famous film. The child who may never have existed at all. In the ensuing murder
investigation, Lucy is to discover the truth about her family's dark and often poignant history - a history which spans the glittering concert halls of
1920s Vienna to the bleak environs of wartime Auschwitz. And at the heart of it all lies the shocking truth about the mysterious child called Alraune.
Personally I don't give 5 stars to many books, but this one earns all 5 stars hands down. I enjoyed this book so much I ordered the other two novels by Sarah Rayne. Ms. Rayne is a British author and she incorporates silent movies, the Holocaust, and a sociopath into a gripping tale. I honestly could not put the book down.
I'm torn on my rating - this isn't a fan-girl gush about how much I loved the book type of story. This is a confusing, intense, dark, disturbing in-your-face type of historical fiction/suspense/thriller/mystery. I'm still trying to sort out my feelings about the story. The images of life in WWII concentration camps was horrible and brutal, dark, depressing - but maybe not all that impossible. This fictional view of the camps is very different than any other view or impression I've read - and maybe that could happen because this is fiction. The scenes and descriptions were so detailed and brutal and awful that I felt physically ill while reading it, but I think it somehow managed to fit in with the story, as odd as that sounds.
For about the first half of the book, I was constantly confused and irritated, with the unnamed character and story line, and trying to keep straight who was who. I had a mental family tree and every time I thought I had it figured out, I'd read a new line and have to start again from the beginning. But when the reveal finally occurred - I was shocked and surprised - it all fell into place. Some of the character traits were a bit obvious, and some of it was hard to believe. But the character of Alice is just such a very strong personality, a never-give-up type, that it works. While I don't believe every person who survived the concentration camps came out with such a strong will to live, I believe some did. Which is what makes this fictional history possible in my mind.
Overall, I think I just have to go with - if this was the first book by Sarah Rayne I had read, I might not have ever picked up another. It was that brutal and intense. But I have read 5 of her Nell West mysteries, so I have experienced other sides of her writing. I will certainly look for and read her other books. And I think this one will stay with me for a very, very long time. I still may be in shock.
Very intriguing story with twists and turns you really aren't expecting.
Well written, I've read Sarah Rayne before and she writes very interesting stories.