The Reverend Callie Anson should have learned her lesson by now: revisiting the past is seldom a good idea. But she succumbs to peer pressure and attends a reunion at her theological college in Cambridge, where she is forced to confront painful memories – and the presence of her clueless ex, Adam.
Margaret Phillips, the Principal of the college, has a chance for happiness but before she can grasp it she has to deal with her own ghosts – as well as corrosive, intrusive gossip. Both Margaret and Callie learn something about themselves, and about forgiveness, from wise retired priest John Kingsley.
Meanwhile, in London, police officers Neville Stewart and Mark Lombardi are involved with the latest stabbing of a teenager. Was the victim – gifted, popular schoolboy Sebastian Frost – all he seemed to be, or was there something in his life that led inevitably to his death? The police find themselves plunged into the queasy world of cyber-bullying, where nothing may be as it seems.
While they’re apart, Callie and Mark’s relationship is on hold, and his Italian family continues to be an issue. Will Mark realize, before it’s too late, that while his family will always be important to him, he is entitled to something for himself?
I actually had to read this book twice before being able to sit down and write a review.
The first time through, I was so disgusted that I threw the book down and walked away when I was barely half-way through. It took some time before I was able to come back to it and read it again with fresh eyes. The problem is that I don't like the main character. She's petty and judgmental and just can't get over herself. Most of the beginning of the book is her whining over the fact that her ex-boyfriend deemed it necessary to still be alive. Alright, probably not most of it, but it's an overwhelming amount. Then there's all the gossip and backstabbing and the silly frivolity that makes up petty sixth-grade girls. This isn't a child's book. I don't care. I don't want to hear you whining. I don't care that your ex is talking to your friends. I don't care that he came to the same reunion as you. I don't care that you haven't forgiven him. You're a whiny little twit, Callie and I don't like you!
Now, the second time through, I was able to read a bit different story. The first time, I was so bogged down with the childishness of these adults that I couldn't get to the real story. The real meat of this story is the murder mystery surrounding Sebastian. Once we're able to clear out all the silly clutter, there's actually a pretty great story here. We have an intriguing cast of characters and each of them is hiding an important piece of the puzzle. Following the detectives around while they slowly collect these pieces was actually great fun. This part of the story I was able to really sink my teeth into.
Once you get past the part of the story that doesn't need to exist, there's a lot to be said for this. Most of the characters have been well-built. The storytelling is relatively fast-paced with just the right amount of cliffhangers. There isn't so much detail that it bogs you down, but enough that you get a relative idea of where you are. It's actually a great mystery read.
For me, I just felt like I was reading two books at once. One of them I really wanted to read, and the other was sheer drivel that has no place in my library. This book was at war with itself. Luckily, taking the time to read it again, I was able to see the 'good' side of the book much more clearly and ignore the rest.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Shawn