I had high hopes for this book:
- An intriguing title
- A striking cover
- Publication by Virago
I had to pick it up, and thought the back cover gave away nothing of the plot it did give a few enticing details, and it did promise to evoke an emotional reaction.
The book opens with a wonderful piece of writing: a press story about Lallie, a rising child story, that cleverly echoes stories of child stars of the past without resembling any one too closely.
There is no doubt that Amanda Coe can write, and write very well.
The story then moves to two schoolgirls. Gemma, who has been spoiled but whose life has been unsettled by the breakdown of her parent’s marriage, and Pauline, who has been neglected and raised in squalor.
An unlikely friendship develops between them, in fits and starts.
Meanwhile Lallie is appearing in a film, and her story is told through those around her.
The characters and the situations convinced at first, but as the story advanced things broke down. The story was going to go in a certain direction, and everything else was secondary.
Then a horrible ending came out of nowhere. The cover suggested that I might be haunted, or heartbroken, or angry.
Actually, I was repulsed, and my first inclination was to toss the book away and write nothing about it.
But now, thinking a little more objectively, I can see what the author was trying to do. She made some telling points, she picked up on some interesting details, but her book failed for me because she pushed things too far.
A promising writer, but a disappointing book.
Such a pity.