Received: Received a copy from the publisher through NetGalleyRelease Date: July 2, 2013
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At once a captivating mystery, a love letter to classic literature, and a sharp-eyed examination of marriage, national bestselling author Elizabeth Joy Arnold brings us a compelling new novel full of suspense, wonder, and surprise, a combination of Diane Setterfield, Eleanor Brown and Gillian Flynn.
After more than twenty years of marriage, Chloe Sinclair comes home one night to find that her husband, Nate, is gone. All he has left behind is a cryptic note explaining that he's returned to their childhood town, a place Chloe never wants to see again.
While trying to reach Nate, Chloe stumbles upon a notebook tucked inside his antique copy of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." Written in code, the pages contain long-buried secrets from their past, and clues to why he went home after all these years. As Chloe struggles to decipher the notebook's hidden messages, she revisits the seminal moments of their youth: the day she met the enigmatic Sinclair children ane the increasingly dangerous games they played to escape their troubled childhoods; the first time Nate kissed her, camped out on the beach like Robinson Crusoe; and the elaborate plan she and Nate devised, inspired by "Romeo and Juliet, " to break away from his oppressive father. As the reason for Nate's absence comes to light, the truth will forever shatter everything Chloe knows--about her husband, his family, and herself.
The first thing I have to say is that the cover of this book is very deceiving to me, when I first saw it I thought this was going to be a cute book, it reminded me of a Cecelia Ahern type of book. But this book has a dark secret hidden underneath everything that is going on, it is so much more than a love story, there are so many surprises that come out as the story continues on.
It took me some time to understand everything that was happening, the story jumps back and forth from past to present a lot, and in the beginning it was a little confusing. But it was interesting to see Chloe reflect on the events that really changed her life and made her who she is today. Chloe slowly learns that not everything about her life was the truth, and she learns so much more about her husband, Nate by reading this notebook.
I loved that this story is about how literature affected these two characters, Chloe finds this notebook that is written in a code that was used when they were children. The code uses books that they have read and Chloe must relive her childhood to figure out what books to use. I loved that some of the best moments of her childhood is equated with a certain book, it really shows how much stories can affect people, and Arnold really showed that in this story.
The love story between Chloe and Nate is adorable and yet there is such a dark undertone with his family, and readers learn alongside Chloe everything that actually happened. I really felt bad for these children, learning what they went through, it's emotional and I understand why it's not talked about until it's thrown in your face.
The ending took me by surprise, though I realize after that I should have seen it coming, the way the story is told makes you forget about a few things so that you are shocked at the big reveal. Honestly, the ending was difficult for me and I was a little disappointed and yet, it also gives you hope for more for these characters.
All in all I fell in love with this book, as the characters in the book fall in love with literature themselves. They've been through a lot and it shows in the story, and yet you really see the love that grew with Chloe and Nate.