Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
The author of this British novel, first published in 1996, deserves a wider following. The story traces three young people who grow up more or less together in contemporary New Zealand. For the book's first half, we meet all the main characters and their parents, friends, and siblings, and sometimes it becomes a bit of a jumble. Robin, a university tutor, marries Lisa, 12 years his junior. Unfortunately, she dies, and he slowly resumes his life, becoming closer to Emmie, a childhood friend who is now an actress. The story picks up when Rob begins to study the life and work of a minor writer, Alice O'Leary, who had been a house guest of Emmie's guardian aunt when they were children. He discovers the secret of Emmie's birth while interviewing O'Leary's husbandan old plot device that Anderson (Portrait of the Artist's Wife, LJ 4/1/93) uses effectively here. The characters, while sometimes annoying, are memorably drawn. Highly recommended.Barbara Maslekoff, Ohioana Lib., Columbus, Ohio (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
A clumsy plot mars this otherwise subtle, witty tale about three young people in Wellington, New Zealand. The introspective only son of a widowed mother, grad student Robin Dromgoole has helped take care of sweet, unworldly Lisa Shield, his next door neighbor, since she was born and he was 12. Years later, when the two fall in love and marry, they seem to have found storybook happiness. But fate intervenes, and Robin finds himself connected in sad, unexpected ways to the other girl next door: the troubled, sexually adventurous actress Emmeline O'Malley. The creaky thread-tying machinery that binds these neighbors together makes a disappointing contrast to Anderson's vivid portraits of secondary characters, including Lisa's arrogant leech of a brother, her chatterbox fellow lab-technicians and Robin's morbid, church-going mum. These appealing characters make Wattie Award-winning Anderson (Portrait of the Artist's Wife) worth reading. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved