Like sinking into the softest pillow, reading this book takes you into a world so compelling that you will find it impossible to leave behind. With a story told in an alternating “Before” and “After” timeline, centering around a horrifying murder committed in the opening pages, this reader was hooked from page one, wound into a tension, pacing, and duo of deeply-drawn worlds, each contributing to what can only be described as a near-perfect read.
Hannah Jones, an English Lit major, our third person narrative POV in both timelines, is a college freshman at none other than Oxford University when our story begins. Transported immediately into a world of sophisticated and dashing characters, Hannah’s northern and pedestrian background (in her own estimation) leaves her scrambling to catch up to the wit, confidence and camaraderie of her new colleagues. Particularly in the case of her “beguiling and just a little bit wicked” roommate April.
“It was as if a different kind of light was shining on her than on the rest of the room.”
As we watch Hannah fall under the spell of her new life, we are simultaneously treated to the prescient knowledge of what will come about for April, and the aftermath ten years later, for Hannah and her friends in our second timeline.
Without giving the plot away (no spoilers here), Hannah’s journey, as it unfolds and coalesces into the present, held me spellbound. This is a book that has it all – fascinating characters, a puzzling mystery, lurking evil, plenty of suspense and a wonderfully satisfying ending (only partially guessed by this reader).
A great big thank you to @simonschusterCA for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.