Perhaps that is the way of friends, to love one another for their imperfections, not despite them.
It was really by accident that I stumbled across this book while scrolling through Netgalley. The premise looked enticing. I thought it would be a fun weekend read. The thing is, this story charmed the ever loving daylights out of me.
I did not expect to love this book.
Our story begins in 1895 with a house appearing in Elsbeth Grundy’s back field in rural Kansas. If that wasn’t outrageous enough, the house that so rudely found it’s way in her back field is from San Francisco in the year 1995.
Annabelle Aster doesn’t fit in with modern society. She’s always felt like an outsider. She is eccentric with a love of antiques. As the days go by she becomes more and more of a recluse. Her only friend is another outsider, Christian, who is crippled by his stutter but is loyal beyond compare.
When Annie has a new door installed she finds herself in looking out into a field in 1895 and is soon exchanging letters with Ms. Grundy. The two unlikely friends find themselves caught up in a mystery that spans over a hundred years.
We are always told when writing that no one wants to read perfect characters. Which is true, what’s the fun of reading about someone that is picture perfect. There is no conflict. If there is no conflict there is nothing to make us, the reader curious. There has to be at least a few flaws. It’s a balance really. If you make them too flawed you end up with either a Delores Umbridge (from Harry Potter) or an Ignatius J. Reilly (from a Confederacy of Dunces). Where they are so far to the extreme that they have no likable qualities at all. It’s really a fine line.
The characters in this story are some of the quirkiest, most flawed characters I have ever read. And they were some of my most favorite! You have a cranky old woman Elsbeth. The eccentric and stubborn Annabelle. Christian the sweet young man who has his own ghosts to battle while he struggles to support his friend. I think that is what I loved most about the book, the imperfectly perfect characters.
While we are on the subject of Christian I want to discuss the romance story line between Christian and Edmund. It’s subtle, a slow burn, one could say. Edmund has his own flaws and secrets, just as every other character. However, the love between Edmund and Christian is so pure that I couldn’t help but swoon.
The charm of this book is that even though we may be broken, we can still find the people that help make us whole.