Riley, herself, admits that this book is a change from her usual diving into history ‘past-present’ style but nevertheless it does flit between the past and current times. The difference is the number of years it jumps back, this book goes back a maximum of 24 years into the past whereas some of her other plots can go back more than 200 years.
The first few pages and the last few chapters are set in the present, 2016. The majority of the book is based ten years ago when Alex was a young teenager. When Alex sets off on a holiday to Cyprus, he has no idea how much drama is about to unfold. His mother; Helena, has been hiding a number of secrets and they are about to be unleashed in their newly inherited Cypriot house – wonderfully named Pandora.
The setting of this book was idyllic and made me crave a holiday, the warm air and laziness that a holiday brings seeped through the pages.
Alex was an unusual character and I thought his awkwardness and dramatics of being a teenager were perfectly captured, it’s almost a shame that this book is aimed at an older audience, as I feel many teenagers would relate to Alex’s feelings and would take comfort in the fact it all turned out alright for him… in the end!
Although plot twists always seem less dramatic in this genre, they have been slipped into this story so beautifully that it’s incredible to look back and see how many directions this plot took – I was particularly surprised when Fabio finally revealed Helena’s biggest secret… who would have guessed that?! … would love to discuss with you all, when you have finished it!
I love the effect Riley’s writing has over me, it’s extremely cathartic and I finish a book feeling content and craving another story. In fact, it’s incredible to think how calming her stories are, given the number of emotional moments that are captured within these plots.
I remain a HUGE fan of Riley’s work and look forward to the next.
Until next time, Chloé