Bookish Wednesday: After the Eclipse

An unreliable narrator, missing girls, an eclipse, romance, intrigue, alcohol, a frazzled journalist, and mystery, Fran Dorricot’s After the Eclipse is the perfect blend of all of this. Sixteen years ago, Cassiopeia’s sister, Olive, went missing during a singular astronomic event: the eclipse. The summer had started out lovely. Cassiopeia and Olive were spending time with their gran and other members of their family in Bishop’s Green. But after that, Cassie has blamed herself every day after the event. If she had been paying attention to Olive, instead of making eyes with Marion, her sister would have never gone missing.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Fran Dorricott (@franwritesstuff) on

Cassie moves back to Bishop’s Green to take care of her grandmother, who suffers from Alzheimer's. The year that Cassie moves back, there’s a new eclipse coming. A girl goes missing, and Cassie is sent into a whirlwind. She’s unstable, feeling as if she’s been placed back into the summer of 1999. She starts to investigate on her own, using her journalistic prowess to uncover truths and secrets…but was she really meant to uncover them?

There is nothing quite so exquisite as an unreliable narrator, someone who jumps from thought to thought, emotion to emotion, and memory to memory without any sort of coherent sensation. She’s scattered, crazed at times, caught in a cycle of self-loathing. If you can’t trust the narrator, who can you trust?

The answer is no one. I couldn’t peel my eyes away from the book. Cassie is a sympathetic voice. You definitely feel for her situation. She struggles with alcohol and abusing sleeping pills. She’s never quite forgiven herself for not having paid more attention to her little sister. Her family ties are incredibly strained. You feel a bubble of thrill and stress in your stomach as you read since Cassie doesn’t make perfect sense all the time. Just like a journalist, you’re left to speculate and wonder about what’s truly happening past what Cassie thinks is happening.

The narrative, though in the first-person perspective, is masterful at giving you just enough description to loosely situate you in a given space. I believe that this works in favor of the reader, allowing you to become even more intertwined in the plot, since you can place yourself in familiar spaces, like your own neighborhood. I found the plot easy to follow. It might seem predictable at times, but trust me when I say it’s not.

Dorricot’s storytelling drops hints and secrets from beginning to end. It’s just enough to tide the itch of suspense but not enough to let you figure everything out. This becomes especially true when the novel begins to jump back and forth in the timelines. It gives you peeks into the sad and terrifying world of Olive as she lives kidnapped.

These scenes were the ones that entranced me the most. I gripped my paperback and rushed through these short chapters. The dread in the pit of my stomach would grow as I waited for the truly horrible things to finally happen. But I just couldn’t take my eyes off the page. I felt entranced.

This thriller deals with themes of love, childhood, friendship, loss (so much loss). It’s masterful at crafting a story of events that could happen to any of us, though they feel borderline supernatural at times. I suggest you read this book with something comforting, like a cup of tea, as many of the characters do. As a reader from the Caribbean, who’s used to the English of the United States, it’s also a treat to see the ways in which some customs (and some words even!) in the United Kingdom are different, which also adds to the feeling of novelty this book brings.

I recommend this book for fans of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

You can find Fran Dorricot on Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads. You can purchase After the Eclipse through Amazon, Book DepositoryIndigo, Barnes and Noble, and Alibris.