Beatrice lives a comfortable life. She owns a nice apartment in New York, she has a nice finance with whom she enjoys buying nice things, and she has a nice job. Her comfortable existence comes to an end one Sunday, when a nice Sunday lunch is disturbed by a frantic call from her mother, who lives in London, telling Beatrice that her younger sister Tess has gone missing. Beatrice catches the next plane home and immediately starts working with the police to try and find her sister.
The search is incredibly hard for Beatrice, as she and Tess were very close, drawn together by the childhood death of their brother, Leo, from cystic fibrosis. The story is told as a letter, written from Beatrice to Tess, and as Beatrice "tells" Tess about the events following that fateful phone call, layers of truth are peeled back. As the narrative progresses, different layers are revealed: Tess is pregnant to her married lover, which she has not told her mother; Tess gave birth prematurely, which she did not tell Beatrice; and that her baby died, which she did not tell anyone in her family. Behind these events is an undercurrent of sadness and loss, as Tess's unborn child was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, the disease that killed her brother, who is still missed 20 years later.
I really enjoyed this book. I picked it up on a whim because I am really into female-driven thriller narratives at the moment and I saw a good review of it somewhere (that I can't remember, of course!). Beatrice is initially a difficult narrator - she's uptight, unbending and unsympathetic. But over the course of the story, she opens up and loosens up as the extent of her loss becomes evident. There is a twist (of course!) but I didn't guess it, which was great. To give you an idea of how much I was gripped by this book, I had a dinner reservation at 7pm and I had the book open on the last five pages while I was putting on my make-up. I give it four stars.