Verdict: THE ABSENCE OF EVELYN is an engaging book, with well-drawn characters set in vivid context, and an engrossing and thought-provoking plot.
Years after a woman’s death, her sister, niece, lover, and lover’s daughter must all come to terms with family secrets, lost chances, and the meaning of life and love.
Rhonda thought that she and her sister Evelyn had been as close as sisters could be. But on a trip to Italy, Evelyn met the handsome Marco, an aristocrat with an arranged engagement to a woman he didn’t love, and they fell madly in love, setting in motion a train of events that only ended with Evelyn’s premature death. Years later, Rhonda’s divorce and Marco’s unexpected phone call reopen past wounds, expose family secrets, and leave Rhonda, Marco, and Rhonda’s daughter Olivia all struggling to understand the challenge of Evelyn’s memory and their shared pasts.
THE ABSENCE OF EVELYN is a powerful testimony to the value of love, in all its forms, but also a testimony to the need to let go, whether of one’s own carefully-laid plans or of a loved one. One by one, the characters see their masks, their old comfortable behavior patterns, and their secrets stripped away, leaving only the core of who they really are and what they really want. The author has a gift for creating characters who are whole, complicated, and interesting individuals, and deftly bringing out their lives and feelings without overdescription or overt explanation, and the result is a book that appeals to both heart and mind. Her writing is evocative and sensual, drawing the reader into the story and making it vividly real. The story moves back and forth between perspectives and times, but Townsend does a good job of making sure it all stays clear and lucid, without confusion. The big secret of the book is revealed to the reader long before it’s revealed to the person it’s being kept from – this limits the suspense and dramatic impact of the reveal, but allows the reader to watch the characters’ interactions with that knowledge in mind. The ending is more open than closed, leaving the reader substantial room for speculation and imagination.
THE ABSENCE OF EVELYN is an engaging book, with well-drawn characters set in vivid context, and an engrossing and thought-provoking plot.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader