Let’s be honest, I bought it for the cover. Well look at it, it is gorgeous. I had been given the poster and just had to check out the book, I took it home and the lovely cover lured me in when I should have been reading worthy bookclub books – oh sometimes I do struggle with these, check the books page later, I’m about to dump another one.
This is one of those books which tells two parallel stories. The first is about Daniel Kennedy, Zoology professor. He and his beloved Nancy, the woman he loves but who will not marry him, are in a plane crash and as Daniel – who is quite the man – swims to save the survivors he has a vision, an angel type figure appears and he eventually reaches safety. I loved this part of the book, I thought it beautifully written and very exciting during the plane crash part, you know it is coming but it is very punchy when it does. Alongside this story is the story of Andrew Kennedy, Daniel’s Great Grandfather, Nancy has been asked by Daniel’s father to translate some letters of his which date from the First World War at Passchendaele. This is a great storyline, kept me guessing until the ‘big reveal’.
The story swaps between these two stories Andrew and his life on the front during the war, and Daniel and his life. This book is very complex, it keeps wandering around the characters. There are big philosophical questions, what is an angel, the quest of Daniel’s supposed friend for a lost symphony, and Daniel’s other friend’s search for love. Overall there is the guilt of having survived when others have died, the fight for life above all else, and the overwhelming love for family regardless of fault. It is a great book, such a lot going on, a couple of things a little unresolved, but certainly I enjoyed every bit of it.