Eve Brightman has been in and out of foster-families ever since she lost her mother. She is tough and knows how to look after herself, but it isn’t easy. Living in a cheap hotel and working in a Starbucks for little money and under a creepy manager, her prospects are bleak.
When she is approached by Bain and Bridgette, two rich and glamorous looking siblings, with an offer that sounds both too good to be true and dubious her first instinct is to ignore it. But when her boss subsequently tries to assault her and she has to flee she reconsiders. The offer of $100.000 to impersonate somebody she apparently resembles closely for a little while, suddenly seems impossible to pass on.
During the next few weeks Bain and Bridgette tell Eve everything she needs to know about their cousin Aurora. Aurora disappeared three years ago but is supposed to come into a huge inheritance on her 18th birthday, which is only a few months away. The plan is to have Eve convince The Family that she is the missing Aurora returned home until she receives her money. After she passes the money on to the two siblings they will give her the promised share and she, and therefore Aurora, can disappear again.
In principle the plan is simple enough, but Eve/Aurora soon discovers that in practice it is a lot more complicated. It soon becomes clear that Bain and Bridgette didn’t give her all the information about Aurora she needs. They also didn’t tell her that on the night Aurora disappeared Liza, Aurora’s best friend, died. Although the death has been ruled a suicide, the police still have questions about what exactly happened; questions they would like the newly returned Aurora to answer. While feigning amnesia helps Eve/Aurora to cover most holes in her story, she does get curious about what exactly is going on herself. And when she starts receiving messages from what appears to be Liza’s ghost, messages that seem to imply that her death was not self-inflicted and that Aurora may now be in danger, Eve/Aurora knows that she either has to flee or find out what happened three years ago.
Not knowing whom to trust and unable to tell anybody the truth about what is going on, Eve/Aurora is completely on her own in a situation that may well end up killing her.
This was a fun psychological thriller. The Eve/Aurora storyline was interesting and compelling. Flashbacks and dream-sequences give tiny hints at what may be going on but leave the reader with enough questions to eagerly turn the pages in order to discover how everything fits together.
The hints at ghostly and supernatural occurrences give the story an extra edge, especially since Eve/Aurora is as sceptical about such phenomena as the reader is.
Eve/Aurora is a well-rounded character. She is neither to good nor to bad. While she is looking out for herself, she can’t help caring about others, even if that means risking her own safety. The other main characters in the book are multi-facetted as well which both makes the story more realistic and gives it an extra edge.The contrast between down-to-earth Eve and Aurora’s rich and self-absorbed family is fascinating, as is the fact that nobody is exactly who or what they appear to be.
The writing in this book is smooth and the images used are descriptive, adding a richness and literary quality to this story.
My only, minor, issue with this book is that the twist at the end of the story didn’t come as a surprise to me. But then again, I’m not a young adult, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised by that.
Overall though I have to say that this book was a lovely find by an author I’ve never read anything by before. And any day that happens is a good day.