At twenty-one years old, Oz Sullivan is unable to understand his fascination with and attraction to a much younger Adrienne Deschanel. Adrienne is spirited, passionate, and impulsive… all of the things Oz is not. Oz is drawn to her in a way that is inexplicable to him, and deeply concerning to those who know him.
Amidst her father’s threats, Adrienne makes secret plans to run away with Oz. Before they can act on them, Adrienne and her family are involved in a tragic accident that takes the lives of the entire family. Adrienne’s body, however, is not found in the wreckage. Oz is devastated and unable to move on when an extensive investigation fails to solve the mystery of Adrienne’s vanishing.
Three years later Oz has made a life for himself as an attorney at his family’s law firm. However, the predictability and peace of his quiet life is shattered when Adrienne is discovered, alive and well…but with no memory of anything before the accident. Oz is conflicted: grateful that she is alive but still damaged from her disappearance and hesitant to get involved and re-open a wound that never fully closed. Yet, Oz finds himself unable to resist helping when Adrienne’s desperate attempt to flee the confusing and dark influences in her life instinctively finds her on Oz’s doorstep. Unable to turn her away, but equally unable to get too involved, Oz keeps from her the truth of who he was and what they meant to each other before she disappeared. Against his better judgment he finds himself enmeshed in the mystery of what happened to her when she was sixteen. The more he learns, the less he understands, and as the story unfolds and Adrienne’s memory slowly returns, everything they thought they both knew gets called into question.
*I was given a free copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review*
I have to admit I struggled a little with this book simply because I felt confused by the switching time frames and POVs, but I completely understand why the book is written in this way.
The story itself was extremely visual and as someone who has always wished to visit New Orleans, it often felt as if I were there, yet sometimes the descriptions were too detailed and I felt a little bogged down with information. Cradit paints pictures with her descriptions, which as an author myself, I struggle with sometimes. I almost found myself looking out of my own window and almost expecting to see the grounds at Ophelie.
The character of Oz is very likeable as he comes across as very real. Not only is he a genuinely nice guy, he also constantly questions himself about his attraction to Adrienne. If he hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t have finished the book in all honesty. Although I don’t have problems with age gaps in relationships, I think the fact that his love interest is merely 16 would have raised eyebrows (as it does in the book) if he hadn’t constantly assessed it the way he does.
Adrienne was a character that I liked, yet I couldn’t identify with as much as Oz. I wasn’t born into the wealth she was, I’m not super intelligent the way she is, and I don’t have a ‘mother’ like Cordelia. But, she is likeable. Some of the things she said in the book before being sent away at 13, made me smile as she still had a child’s naivete on top of her intellect which made for an interesting contrast. I think if Cradit hadn’t done that with her, the character could have come across as snooty.
All in all, the story is compelling to read because of the mystery surrounding Adrienne and her memory loss, and also the death of Janie, I just feel it was a little drawn out in places. I wanted answers faster than they were given and I was also left with some questions which I hope will be answered later in the series. Yes, I will be reading more as I enjoyed the book, I just didn’t adore it.