The Lost Girl
I found this book to be very well written and gripping. The story is wide raging in time and the chapters move between past and present so we are able to find out why certain characters behave as they do. Ending in the present time following the Bataclan shootings in Paris, the reader is gradually able to piece this puzzle together and the ending is both a surprise and and a 'good result'. Carol Drinkwater has become an author I will now search out. Roll on her next offering. Recommended.
This is a very unusual novel based around the Paris bombings of November 2015. It is astonishing to me that this actually happened nearly two years ago as it seems like only yesterday. It is unusual because I have never before read a novel based on something which happened so recently and which still seems so real and so current. It was both fascinating and appalling to see the evening unfold from the perspective of the innocent bystanders. The horror of that evening, seen through they eyes of two of the main characters, is really brought to life and I can only assume that the facts were well researched and as accurate as they can be.
The lives of the characters, describing how they reached the point of the night in question, is told through a series of flashbacks. I don’t normally like books which jump around in this way as I often find it confusing. However the author handles it very well by clearly labeling each shift in the story with a title which contains the characters involved, the place and the year.
I found the book utterly compelling from the outset. The characters are well developed and, very importantly, very believable, evoking both empathy and sympathy from the reader. It is very well written and easy to read as well as being powerful, gripping, tender and heart-breaking all at the same time. The book only lasts for the duration of one day, which I imagine is a difficult thing to attempt as an author. However, Carol manages to fill that day with consummate ease and the result is an engrossing novel.
My only criticism (and it is a small one) is that the book is really two books in one, with each story being as fascinating as the other. The book is entitled “The Lost Girl” and, from the summaries given on the back cover, it is clear that this is referring to Lizzie, Kurtiz’s daughter who is missing in the Paris bombing. For most of the book the lives of the other main characters are revealed only because they are a part of this story, the main focus still being on finding the ”lost girl”. However, towards the end of the book the emphasis changes and Marguerite’s story takes on a life of it’s own, with a large chunk of the second half of the book being devoted to her early years. Captivating though this is, I did feel that it detracted somewhat from the main event and sidetracked the reader just a little too much. When I eventually returned to the search for Lizzie I had almost forgotten that the book was about her at all, so wrapped up had I become in Marguerite’s life. Whilst I understand that these added details provided absorbing padding to the plot, I think a “less is more” approach might have been preferable in this instance. There is undoubtedly enough basic material for a book centred around the life and times of Marguerite, and I think this was a missed opportunity. There is a parallel between the two characters in that they could each star in a book called “The Lost Girl” – personally I think they probably should have.
Criticisms aside, it was an utterly absorbing book that I just couldn’t put down. Well done Carol.
We have just read this book for our book club and it certainly lived up to our name (just another chapter). I don't usually like books with lots of discription in, but Carol has the enviable talent of drawing the reader in. All at our book club enjoyed reading it and gave scores ranging from 7-9 put of 10. I look forward to reading more by this author.
Brilliant, engrossing, not to be missed. I loved it!
I would recommend this book.