I thought this book was “meh” at best. The two main characters, Adam Sharp and Angelina Brown, are incredibly self-centered. Twenty-two years ago, they fell in love in Melbourne, Australia, where Angelina was in an unhappy marriage and Adam, working on contract, was in the area. They mutually agreed that when it was time for him to return to Manchester, England, they would break it off.
Adam and Angelina seem to have fallen in love based on a shared love of the same music, about which the author writes at length. The problem with music is that it does not evoke the same reaction in all people; so much is dependent on when you hear it, or whom you are with, or what your life is about at that moment. Thus, for example, Adam going on and on about the Dylan song “Farewell Angelina” clearly would be relevant for him but does absolutely nothing for me. Analogously, eating a madeleine only makes me think of Proust the author, rather than the 4,215 pages of memories it inspired him to write about.
When the story shifts to the later period in their lives, Adam is 48 and Angelina is 45. They haven’t changed much. Adam is still endlessly in the throes of introspection about Angelina and their relationship, and Angelina is (also) still all about Angelina.
Thus, I found much of the book boring and often alienating. The immature characters just didn’t interest me in the slightest. This may be because the author didn’t really choose to tell us much about them besides their musical tastes and their manipulative actions.
There are two side characters, who are (inexplicably, in my view) devoted to Adam and Angelina in spite of their flaws and in some instances abusive behaviors.
In the end, not much has really changed, at least on the interior of each of the characters, or rather, what interior there is.
Evaluation: Fans of Simsion’s “Rosie” books may be in for a letdown; I certainly was.
Published by St. Martin’s Press, 2017