This narrative gripped me from the start because of its strong voice, that of a contemporary young man who does not seem out of place to strangers in the modern Anglophonic world. The reader is never aware of the author’s presence as she maintains this deep point of view to the end. The result is that we are constantly right there in the shoes of the protagonist-narrator, perceiving and feeling all that he does. It makes for a powerful experience indeed.
The story takes us from England to Australia and back; differences between the geographical and cultural environments are conveyed deftly. Fascination deepens quickly with the mystery of family history and deception, intertwining with verifiable facts of murder investigations as well as possibilities still to be explored. Characters emerge vividly, and much interest comes from the way relationships among them change as they discover more about each other. (It’s probably because of my own personal weakness, but I was sometimes briefly confused about who was who in the large cast of minor characters.)
The central theme of this novel, it’s probably fair to say, is the varied forms love takes and the different ways it is acted out. But there’s also hatred, murder, and some cruelty that I can only describe as evil. And yet, at the same time, there is humour coming largely from the personality of the narrator and his witty, educated but colloquial language.
Very soon after starting to read this novel, you’ll know you’re in the hands of a highly intelligent and skilled story-teller. If you let her carry you through, you'll be very, very satisfied.
The loss of a parent is always a time of remorse and questioning; remorse for words not uttered, questioning a life that has ended. For Jaque Randall, successful actor, this time comes following the accidental death of his mother Christina in New York. The questions asked begin to unravel a life clouded by mystery, touching on crimes committed decades before, and intricacies in a family life where preconceived ideas are shattered. So begins a journey to discover the Missing Christina. Each family member is brought alive by the author, Meredith Whitford, each with their faults, foibles, and secrets; and Whitford draws you into the family circle, so you become a member and react in shock, amusement, and sympathy as each detail in the life of the mysterious Christina is laid bare. How well does one know a parent? Entertaining and absorbing. Highly recommended.
I was captivated from the very beginning of Missing Christina - Meredith is such a talented author who developed wonderfully complex characters that immediately drew me into the book. Her depiction of these characters, their relationships and their stories allowed me to immerse myself deeply into the narrative, and had my attention from the very first page. While parts of the story are of typical situations most of us can picture, especially the connection to Adelaide, Meredith has cleverly woven in just the right amount of drama, mystery and intrigue to create a novel that provides the escapism and suspension of reality that we all crave in our favourite books. Missing Christina is a fantastic read and I highly recommend it!