This is a big book. The sort that I shy away from unless I have unlimited amunts of time at my disposal, which of course, being the mother of three very active children, never occurs anymore. But this book sounded good. And it was something I had made a commitment to read. And do you know what? I read it as quickly as I've read many a much shorter book. That is to say, Malone can put together a story that gallops along and certainly keeps a reader turning pages fast and furiously as I did with this one.
Annie Peregrine Goode is 26. She's in the middle of divorcing her cheating ex-husband. And she's going home to see the aunt and aunt's best friend who raised her after her con-man father dumped her at the family home and ran when she was seven. Told by dizzying jumps forward and backwards in time, the mystery of Annie's mother, why her dying father needs her help now after all these years, and the story of a possibly real but possibly apocryphal Cuban treasure cram the book's pages thoroughly. As the reader stumbles along with Annie, trying to figure out the important things she needs to know and what she can just let go, Malone manages to weave a rollicking, fun story. His characters are quirky and off-beat. Perhaps a few of the plot lines are ultimately given short shrift but the plethora of characters helps to illuminate the themes of unconventionality, familial love, drive, and learning to fly on your own (the literal standing in for the figurative here given Annie's status as a top-notch Naval pilot).
As this is an overly long book, it could probably have done with some cutting and it does get repetitive in places, especially for the reader who doesn't put it down often. Sometimes the repetitiveness makes it all too obvious where the plot is going and which bits are most important to remember but if you can ignore the occasional heavy-handedness and the unbelievable character coincidences that make it terrifically obvious Malone wrote for a soap opera, you can still have an entertaining and adrenaline-laden read. I did notice this stuff, and yet, overall, it was still a light and fun read for me. So don't let the length scare you off but be willing to suspend disbelief and enjoy a dip into a Southern style soap opera.
This is a stop on the Literary Road Trip. Michael Malone is a North Carolina author.
Thanks to the publisher for sending this to me for review.