I thoroughly enjoyed this book and devoured it in as few sittings as possible. It is the kind of book that, for me, has too many extraordinary plot twists and character traits to seem completely realistic, but the writing was so good that I was prepared to suspend belief and just go with the story.
The novel begins with Pippa Lee at 50 years old, married to a man 30 years her senior, and moving into a retirement complex. The first part of the book describes her current life, focussing on her relationship with her husband and two adult children. The second part goes back to Pippa's childhood and charts her wild and self-destructive youth up until she meets her husband and changes her life. The final portion of the book returns to the present day, where all is not right between Pippa and her family, and things have reached breaking point.
I found Pippa to be an interesting if not always likeable character. She seemed to drift through life, easily influenced by others, with little conviction about what she wanted or with any kind of moral compass. Despite this, I liked Pippa. I felt she was very much a product of her childhood and was just a confused, lonely person at heart. I was also interested by a lot of the secondary characters and enjoyed how the author managed to perfectly sum up their personalities in just a few piercing descriptive sentences or lines of dialogue.
Perhaps the one false note was the ending. Part of me feels that the loose ends were all tied up too neatly, within just a few pages, and perhaps the book could have gone on a bit longer to make the ending more realistic. Furthermore, there was also something that happened near the end of the book that just didn't ring true. I won't give too much away, suffice to say that there was almost a metaphysical element to the ending that I found unsatifying.
Overall, I have to give this book 5 stars because it is an intelligent, sensitive novel, and also a real page turner. Who could ask for anything more?