This is one of those novels where you’re not quite sure where it’s going… and when you get there, it can be hit or miss as to whether you like the destination you’ve arrived at. Fortunately, I really enjoyed where we wound up. Part Gothic novel, part supernatural mystery, The Quick begins with a familiar proposition – two children and a British estate that has seen better days. Charlotte and her younger brother, James, who we meet at an early age, lead a solitary existence following the death of their mother. Their father, is also an absent figure, preferring to avoid his children, thus leaving them to spend their days exploring the grounds of their formidable home. It is only when James heads off to school (Oxford, obviously), and later London, that things start to diverge from the usual Gothic novel formula.
I don’t want to divulge any more- to do so would ruin the sneaky little plot twist that turns this book topsy turvy. Needless to say, you are either going to love it, or have a “WTF” moment.
Other thoughts on this novel: a little bit long and slow in places, it would be easy to put this one down until you get through the first third or so, however it is totally worth sticking with it. Owen’s writing also conveys a wonderful fog-enshrouded atmosphere that I stayed with me throughout the book. Unlike some period pieces, she is consistent and you never get an accidental glimpse of the 20th century through language or description of the scene at hand. A definite must for anyone who likes something a little spooky and Victorian. Anyway, that is enough for me– you’ll just have to read it yourselves!
Available for pre-order on Amazon, and on shelves June 17, 2014.
xo The Book Bird