King’s evocative novel depicts one woman’s coming-of-age journey as she returns to her hometown to unravel the long-buried secrets of her traumatic past. Growing up, Agnes has been the target of her narcissistic, unhinged mother’s wrath, but there’s very little she remembers about her father. When her divorce finalizes, she knows time has come for her to deal with her troubled past. She returns to Australia, the place of her birth and upbringing, and begins to look into the missing period of her childhood. Will she discover the truth? Will it set her free?
Agnes is a vulnerable yet intelligent and perceptive character who easily gains readers’ sympathies. The well-developed chapters read like individual narratives, but King keeps the book’s central themes of trauma and enduring pain constant.
The prose is a bit cluttered but Agnes’ story picks up pace right from the very first page, and readers will find it nearly impossible to stop reading. A hard-hitting tale that highlights the different ways in which childhood trauma shapes a person’s life.