About The Book
Two solar eclipses. Two missing girls.
Sixteen years ago a little girl was abducted during the darkness of a solar eclipse while her older sister Cassie was supposed to be watching her. She was never seen again. When a local girl goes missing just before the next big eclipse, Cassie – who has returned to her home town to care for her ailing grandmother – suspects the disappearance is connected to her sister: that whoever took Olive is still out there. But she needs to find a way to prove it, and time is running out.
Secrets. That was the thing, wasn’t it? At eleven I didn’t have many secrets, but by thirteen I was brimming with them. I loved them. Hated them, too. The summer we lost Olive I had a lot of things to keep to myself; I gorged on my secrets, on the stories I was writing and on my expanding emotions as if they were sweets and chocolate that I’d never had before. For once I had something I didn’t have to share.
I had Marion; I had feelings that nobody else had.
The thrill of the secrets was greater still because Marion and I knew our parents wouldn’t approve. Girls didn’t like other girls. Not like that. Mum had told me as much herself. It was a different world, then, and I was trapped by its customs and rules.
Holding hands in the back seat of Gran’s car on the way to the Bishop’s Green fête had given us such a rush that the evening before the eclipse we could hardly keep our hands off each other. The jasmine scent of the air mixed with the trembling excitement in the hot summer night. The fear of getting caught was almost as fun as knowing that only we felt this way.
I realised later that Olive had secrets, too, but she didn’t flaunt them like I did. She kept them close to her chest, guarding her hand relentlessly. And I was so wrapped up in myself that I didn’t see it. I almost wanted to be found out so I didn’t have to tell my parents how I felt. About myself and about Marion.
Olive was different. When she was small she’d shared everything with me, but the prospect of moving to Big School at the end of the summer had closed her off. It was almost as though she felt she had to hide things in order to grow up.
The week we arrived in Bishop’s Green, I’d found Olive writing in a diary. She’d never kept one before that I knew of and I wondered what had prompted the change. She’d left it under her pillow, and I found it while looking for a hairclip of mine she’d borrowed. The diary was blue, covered with stickers of Pokémon and dinosaurs and planets, a mixture that I thought summed up my nerdy sister perfectly.
I wanted to read it.
I was burning to rip it open and devour the contents – but something stopped me. Not guilt as much as a fear of retribution. I hovered at the edge of the bed, holding her pillow in a tight grip, indecision rendering me completely immobile.
If Olive found me reading it she’d never forgive me and I still had the summer to endure with her. I hated being punished by her because Olive was so insufferable: she never rubbed it in my face, never gloated that I was in trouble, and that quiet calmness was always so damn infuriating.
So I put the pillow back and left it alone.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I always enjoy fiction of this type, an unexplained disappearance that is explained as the novel progresses. Combined with another disappearance in modern day in the same area. And this novel doesn’t disappoint.
However, it was one where I guessed correctly who was responsible and saw hidden twists very early on. But, unusually it didn’t stop me reading and enjoying the novel. In fact I liked finding that I was correct in my deduction and there were a few occasions where I questioned if I had been correct.
I liked Cassie and seeing her loyalty to her Gran, having to cope with her illness felt real but it wasn’t depressing or overpower the story. Instead, it helped show the devastation that Olive’s family went through when she disappeared.
I liked the excitement surrounding the eclipses. I remember going outside to witness them in the past, hoping to feel different but being left disappointed after experiencing nothing because of cloud cover.
One of the stronger parts of the novel was Olive’s story. It was original and was at times poignant. I’m not too sure that I would cope as well if I had to face what she did.