I entered a giveaway on a lark. I’d heard her speak at a National Book Festival and enjoyed what she has to say. I also know she’s a local writer and I like reading books that take place in locations I recognize. I was very surprised when this book appeared in my mailbox.
This is not your average mystery or your typical love story. The pacing is slow but it makes sense for how the story unfolds and the games the characters are playing.
One of the things I really enjoyed about Pauline/Polly was that she’s a complicated woman with a dark past. She’s not especially likeable or sweet or easy to root for. She’s like an actual person who is complicated and has layers. Is she a sociopath (like a diagnosable lack of empathy) or just a woman who has had a hard life? I’ve finished the book and I’m still not entirely sure. She must have been great fun for Lippman to write.
Her love story is full of problems like the questions that aren’t asked and a foundation of deceit. The feelings and bonds are real but it’s so full of secrecy and lies that you’re not sure what ending you’re rooting for. Adam is also a complicated character but his self-awareness and honesty about what he is and what he wants make him a character you enjoy getting to know.
My personal taste for storytelling and pacing puts this at a 3.5 but all of the layers of mystery and deceit push it over to a 4 for me. The way it all unfolds at the very end surprised me and was worth the journey.