Court touches on the medical reasons for Maggie's condition, but the novel’s focus is on scenes and moods, such as Maggie in the hotel, jet lagged and sick: "then she just disappeared, into the water, into the fog, the lake, the pool, the dreams." Subplots involving Alison's troubled family in Scotland and Maggie's old friends who know her past get a little tangled, and make the story choppy at times, but Court’s entrancing language never fails.
Indeed, Court marvelously creates vivid characters and illuminates the connections between people, specifically the way Alison and Wolfe settle into their new lives. Wolfe, from a banking family but fleeing a minor scandal of his own making, really wants to be an artist, and interrupts his workday to sketch, as he thinks contemptuously about his father, who was only interested in "conversations about money, algorithms about money, and rules and regulations and laws about money". Court also neatly portrays the sweetly naïve Alison, who fails to understand Maggie's warning that she and Wolfe shouldn't "visit" each other's room. Maggie and her endearing friends go through a lot together, and readers will face a bittersweet conclusion, knowing that it's the end of their visit with such appealing characters.
Takeaway: Character-driven but unstuck in time, this inventive novel will stick with readers.
Great for fans of: Madeleine L'Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler's Wife.
Design and typography: B+
Marketing copy: B