“Do we love across time? Or in spite of it? A developer has slated an ancient Abenaki Indian burial ground for a strip mall, and now strange happenings have tiny Comtosook, Vermont, talking of supernatural forces at work. Ross Wakeman is a ghost hunter who’s never seen a ghost-all he’s searching for is something to end the pain of losing his fiance Aimee in a car accident. He tried suicide-any number of times. Now Ross lives only for a way to connect with Aimee from beyond. Searching the site for signs of the paranormal, Ross meets the mysterious Lia, who sparks him to life for the first time in years. But the discoveries that await Ross are beyond anything he could dream of in this world-or the next. Expertly entwining a powerful drama of the heart’s redemption and the disturbing real-life history of the VT eugenics project of the 1930s, Second Glance asks if truth is always something that can be measured… and if what can be measured is indeed always true.” – from Jodi Picoult’s website
At first I was very frustrated when I read this novel because there were too many characters appearing too expeditiously a succession. And the frustration made me feel lost in the beginning of the novel as my brain started working over time trying to figure out where all these characters fit in with the bigger picture. Three quarters of a way into the novel, something inside of me told me to stop reading the novel and start reading something else and I actually did not touch this novel for an entire day but I picked it up again because the only thing that went through my mind was that my friend recommend that I read it so it has to be good…right? And she hardly gets it wrong with recommending great books.
Anyway, I then continued reading and by this time normally I would have taken out a pad, started to scribble notes down, plotting the characters on my mind-map, trying to work out how all these characters link to each other. Then eventually I started to see how the characters link to each other. I have to admit though, I kind of figured it out as I read along, quite a few predictions which I nailed 99% of the time. But yet the storyline became interesting. I wanted to see what would happen at the end of the story, actually not wanted; I needed to find out Lia’s story and that also kept me reading.
I could feel the emotions of certain characters in the book and I was disgusted with some, this is me getting captivated by the characters once again, as if I am there in the story and not reading it, LOL.
Picoult uses shocking facts and use it to her advantage to create compelling fiction within this novel. I actually did some research on the VT eugenics project and found out that this really existed which was so shocking, not because she used it in her novel but because such inhumane laws existed back in the day.
This is a fascinating twisted love-story that combines supernatural and suspense all in one. Not my usual cup of tea (favourite genre is suspense/thriller before any type first) but then again, I read any type of novel that is cleverly written and really good.
With all this said, however, I do think that the ending could have been much better as it is kind of ends random… I get the author wants us to “leave it up to our imagination” but yet it was an anti-climax for me.
Image source here