By Emma Chapman
Many years ago, successful educator Hector Bjornstad found Marta in a very traumatized state after an accident killed both of her parents. He helped rehabilitate fragile Marta and gave her a home. Though there is a twenty year age difference, they then married and had a son. Now that their son is grown and moving on, Marta feels a sense of sadness and loss. She finds herself struggling to find her place in life and the world around her.
Very unhappy, Marta feels that things are just not quite right. To clear her head, Marta stops taking her longtime antianxiety medicine. Though Marta has taken this for many years, she strongly feels she does not need it. Not wanting to upset her husband and son, so she pretends to take it. This is the first of many secrets.
Suddenly, Marta begins to see things and hear voices that are not there. These sights and sounds seem to be centered around a young girl who seems to be in trouble. Marta feels the girl is trying to communicate with her. She becomes obsessed with this tragic girl and helping her. Marta feels she is missing something important.
As things progress, Marta becomes afraid. Nothing is as it seems. Time seems to shift without her knowledge. Sights and sounds are unreliable. Though a nonsmoker, cigarettes appear in her purse. She even finds herself smoking. She both questions and alienates those around her as her tries to keep her many secrets. However, she must figure things out.
The detailed writing of this book is almost lyrical. Emma Chapman sets a stage carefully. She uses precision in telling a suspenseful tale of a woman trying to find herself, again. I found this book unsettling, yet oddly satisfying in its delivery. I am hoping this author has more to offer.