Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
Age: 16+ years old
Twins Eslpeth and Edwina live separate lives, one in London and the other in Chicago. Neither sister has spoken for over a decade until Eslpeth becomes diagnosed with cancer and soon starts correspondence with her long lost twin. After her death, she wills her second floor flat in London to her nieces, twins Julia and Valentina. In her will she states that they must live in the flat for one year before deciding if they want to sell it. What Eslpeth had not accounted for, was that her spirit would return from the grave to haunt the flat, the girls, changing their lives.
To be honest, I found this book to be really dull. I thought Eslpeth made for an incredibly boring ghost, the twins were annoying and there weren’t any likable characters other than Martin (and I wish we learned more about Martin). There was a big rift between the elder twins that caused them to not talk for over a decade, but by the time you found out what that secret was, it didn’t effect the plot at all and seemed to be a let down. One of the girls from my book club compared this book to Breaking Dawn: so much build up for nothing. I wouldn’t go that far. Audrey Niffenegger is still incredibly more talented as a thinker, creator and writer than Stephanie Meyer. The ending of HFS felt rushed, and I was mad that it ended just as it got interesting. The ending was predictable (I guessed what would transpire between Eslpeth and Valentia halfway through the book).
What I did like:
I love Niffenegger’s descriptions and characters. Although they weren’t likable, they were fully formed and had their own personalities and histories. I loved that she used British slang and colloquialisms in her writing and I loved learning about Highgate cemetery and its history. I will not compare this book to Time Traveler’s Wife, because they are completely different and one should not be judged based on the other. I love her emphasis on character development and seeing how Martin and Valentina progressed and grew stronger while the initially stronger characters (Julia and Marijke) grew weaker. It was an interesting dynamic.
Overall, I was disappointed with the book. It wasn’t creepy and it wasn’t very original. It had many elements that I have seen in countless ghost movies and read in other ghost stories.Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger Scribner Books, 2009 ISBN 9781439165393 404 pages