A ghost story interweaving multiple stories across the ages.
Bestselling Australian author Kate Morton’s sixth book is an elaborate ghost story that spans the ages, told from multiple viewpoints across multiple time periods. The tale flits between each story, not necessarily chronologically, requiring a strong focus when listening to the audiobook. It may be easier to follow if reading along with the printed novel.
Joanne Froggatt narrates with clarity and good characterisation, but the convoluted story would be better served by multiple narrators to help keep things clearer. That’s no reflection on Froggatt, who is an experienced narrator and actor. Her pacing, accents and emotions are spot on for the meandering narrative.
The story introduces us to Elodie Winslow, an archivist in modern day London, who finds a satchel containing a photograph and artist’s sketchbook. 150 years earlier, in the same location as the photograph, an artists’ retreat resulted in a death, a disappearance and a theft. Elodie sets out to discover the identity of the woman in the photo while also seeking to learn about her own mother. The plot then weaves through an enormous cast of characters, sometimes hiding the connection of characters to any of the main storylines until the end.
The plot moves slowly and, while it can be interesting and intriguing, 17 hours is a lengthy runtime. The audiobook struggles at times to keep one’s attention and, once that attention is lost, the tangled plot soon follows. Fans of Morton appear divided on this latest book, although the majority do appear to be in favour of it. For those new to Morton’s work – like myself – a better choice may be one of her earlier novels which have launched and kept her in the international spotlight as an author of choice.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Distributed by: Bolinda Audio
Released: September 2018