My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
True crime aficionados have for years wondered about the great mystery in the life of one the most celebrated mystery writers of our times, Dame Agatha Christie. What did happen to her for 11 days in 1926 is a question that has long haunted all her fans and continues to be a mystery that has never provided sufficient answers.
Based on this true account, Nina de Gramont reimagines the set of incidents that lead up to the disappearance of Agatha Christie and WOW, what an exciting set of circumstances the author lays forward explaining the reason for her silence and getting the readers to sympathize with its narrator Nan O’Dea, the mistress who walked into the Christie’s lives and purposefully wrecked it.
The author has woven an intricate tale of grief and pain during the years of war very clearly portraying the misery of young unmarried females forced to abandon their babies irrespective of their wishes and dreams. The story unfurls thru Nan and her past in Ireland and then draws us to the events that happen before the day of missing and the days following that. Nina de Gramond’s writing takes the reader on an emotional journey seeing the agony endured by Nan thus making us feel pity for her and her determined focus in destroying another woman’s life. However it was not Nan, but Finbarr whose undying love that brought a lump to my throat.
I did love the main plot exploring the reasons that could have developed in the life of my favorite author but it was the murder mystery woven thru it that held my attention thoroughly. Yes, it was interesting to see the plot devices used by Christie like a hotel, a set of guests, a man dying in the middle of having dinner, it was glorious to return to that Christie set up. This story thou, I believe would have worked equally well without the need for mixing up the real events of Agatha Christie’s disappearance. I have read many books where facts are blended with fiction but I felt this would have been better as out an out fiction without the unnecessary need for the sensational subject matter. Another point that I was irked with was how Nan imagines the scenes that would have played out between Agatha and various other characters. Not sure why the author chose to do that, but it was irritating as if they are not happening in the real but are whimsical and imaginary thoughts of Nan’s mind or probably these words say it all,
The echo of this story is gonna reverberate in my mind for a long time to come, just because it gives a version of the story that heretofore have never been imagined.
Compelling 3.5 stars.
Many thanks to Net Galley, Pan Macmillan, and the author for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.
A stunning new novel that reimagines the unexplained 11-day disappearance of Agatha Christie that captivated the world.
“A long time ago, in another country, I nearly killed a woman. It’s a particular feeling, the urge to murder. First comes rage, larger than any you’ve ever imagined. It takes over your body so completely, it’s like a divine force, grabbing hold of your will, your limbs, your psyche. It conveys a strength you never knew you possessed. Your hands, harmless until now, rise up to squeeze another person’s life away. There’s a joy to it. In retrospect, it’s frightening, but I daresay in the moment it feels sweet. The way justice feels sweet.”
So begins The Christie Affair, told from the point of view of Miss Nan O’Dea, a fictional character but based on someone real. In 1925, she infiltrated the wealthy, rarified world of author Agatha Christie and her husband, Archie. A world of London townhomes, country houses, shooting parties, and tennis matches. Nan O’Dea became Archie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted wife. In every way, she became a part of their world–first, both Christies. Then, just Archie.
The question is, why?
And what did it have to do with the mysterious eleven days that Agatha Christie went missing?
The answer takes you back time, to Ireland, to a young girl in love, to a time before The Great War. To a star-crossed couple who were destined to be together–until war and pandemic and shameful secrets tore them apart.
What makes a woman desperate enough to destroy another woman’s marriage?
What makes someone vengeful enough to hatch a plot years in the making?
What drives someone to murder?
These questions and more are explored in Nina de Gramont’s brilliant, unforgettable, lush, and powerful novel.
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