Top positive review
18 people found this helpful
on 5 November 2002
This is a beautifully written, well nuanced novel of mystery and suspense that seamlessly moves between the past and the present. The past is told through the diaries of a Danish immigrant named Asta, who went to live in Edwardian England with her husband, Rasmus, and two young sons at the turn of the century. Settling down in East London in 1905, her loveless marriage and loneliness drove Asta to keep a journal of her innermost thoughts and experiences.
Though married to a man who spent a great deal of time away from home on business and with whom she seemed to have little in common, she added two more children to her family, daughters, Swanny, her favorite, and Maria, the youngest. Asta's lyrically written journals would chronicle her life, her struggles as an immigrant, her hopes and dreams, and her adoration of Swanny. They would also tantalizingly hint at a secret that would, ultimately, impact on her daughter, Swanny, later in life.
Over seventy years later, those diaries, all forty nine of them, would be discovered and become a publishing sensation and a bestseller. Within its many pages would lie the missing pieces to a turn of the century murder mystery and the leads to the whereabouts of a missing child, as well as tantalizing clues to the puzzling circumstances surrounding Swanny's birth. This information would lie dormant until nearly a century after Asta first put pen to paper, when Asta's granddaughter, Maria's daughter Ann, would review the diaries and discover not only the secret of Swanny's birth, but the identity of a missing child, as well as that of a killer, who nearly a century earlier had butchered two women.
This is a book well worth reading, and one that will command the reader's attention until the very last page is turned.