Last year’s poignant tear-jerker, Watch Over Me, was a runaway success for Italian-born author Daniela Sacerdoti and now she’s back again to tug at our heartstrings.
Making a return trip to the Highlands village of Glen Avich, Sacerdoti works her magic on a beautifully wrought story of family loss, unconditional love and one woman’s highly-charged voyage of self-discovery.
She doesn’t fully realise it yet but Inary Monteith’s life is at a crossroads. The girl who grew up near the loch in Glen Avich and found out at an early age that she has inherited the family gift of ‘sixth sense,’ is now an editor for a small publisher in London.
Inary’s ‘visions’ stopped abruptly when she was 12 after a traumatic incident but recently her life has been overshadowed by a vague restlessness that has made her no longer able to recognise herself.
One of her closest friends is graphic designer Alex and in the past few weeks she has been disturbed to discover that she is starting to look forward to seeing him a little too much.
Before long, their friendship turns into a night of passion but, still reeling from the hurt of a broken engagement, she breaks his heart by telling him it was all a terrible mistake.
That same night she receives a call from her brother Logan in Scotland telling her that their teenage sister Emily, who has a serious heart condition, has suddenly weakened and is close to death.
Returning home means she must confront the loss of her beloved sister and the painful memories she has been trying so hard to escape… her parents’ deaths in a car accident, a failed love affair and her brother’s anger and resentment that Inary fled their home three years ago leaving him to care for Emily.
Back home, her problems are compounded by the smug ex she never wanted to see again, her mixed feelings about Alex in London and a handsome American she meets in Glen Avich.
When Inary suddenly loses the ability to speak, her sixth sense returns and she hears a voice from the past asking her to ‘take me home.’ Only by solving the mystery will she finally set herself free…
Sacerdoti’s emotive novels carry a heavy freight of turmoil and tragedy without resorting to sentimentality or morbidity, and always allowing the human spirit’s essential resilience and eternal capacity for hope to shine through.
Her gently unfolding plots are stitched together with an exciting frisson of the supernatural which gives added depth and mystery, and creates a unique, spine-tingling atmosphere.
Inary’s search for the truth, which encompasses both her personal battles and devastating events in the past, is the driving force for this sensitive, moving story.
It’s a tale of family, friendship and love that transcends its tragedies, uplifts the soul and, against the odds, proves to be as life-affirming as it is heartbreaking.
(Black and White Publishing, paperback, £7.99)