Stars: 2 out of 5.
DNF at 75%.
This was going to be a solid 4 or 5 stars book until about 50% into the story. The setup was wonderful. Old manor that used to be an abbey, the moors and the fog, the cold and unwelcoming servants, and a mysterious library… What is there not to like about this?
Unfortunately, things go downhill from there. And not in small part because of the protagonist’s actions. For someone who constantly says that she doesn’t need anyone to take care of her, because she was doing that just fine on her own, thank you very much, she sure makes a lot of stupid decisions. Like not heeding the warnings of her staff about the library, or about associating with certain people. Like trusting a man who she doesn’t really know from Adam, just because he was nice to her and likes talking about books. Like accepting his marriage proposal after barely knowing him a few weeks and going on a couple dates. Especially when even she notices his unhealthy fixation on her library… just because she is lonely and feels unappreciated. Strong independent woman, yeah right.
That’s the major problem with this book. No matter how much the author tries to show Ivy taking some action, and making some decisions, like organizing a book lending club, she isn’t an active player in this story. She doesn’t push the story forward. None of her actions progress anything. Things happen to her. In essence, she has no agency in this story at all. I understand that it was supposed to convey her dismay and confusion at progressively loosing her memories, but it misses the mark here, in my opinion. She comes across and pathetic and helpless, yet also stubborn and pigheaded when she shouldn’t be. She gives up all resistance the moment she encounters any difficulty.
For example, when she finds her journals shredded, she immediately abandons the idea of keeping a diary of her days. I would immediately create another diary and keep it on my person at all times, and yes, continue to write down everything that happens. She just sweeps all the evidence into the fire and doesn’t even confront her staff about this… or go to town and call her friend Susan, or do anything but continue to flounder in bewilderment.
This might work for some readers, but this passivity made the book more and more boring to me. To the point that I started skimming ahead to see if Ivy would even try to fight for he freedom and sanity, but by 75% of the book she was just as pathetic – a prisoner in her own home… And I didn’t care to find out what would happen in the end. So I gave up.
PS: I received an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.