If the people who adapted Puberty Blues for television had decided to make it a missing persons mystery, it would feel a lot like this book. That may sound like a strange mash-up, but I can’t begin to tell you how well it works here.
Goodwood is the kind of teeny country town that only has one of everything: one take-away shop, one bookstore, one butcher, one grocer, etc. Everybody knows everybody else, and when two townsfolk go missing, nearly everyone is changed by it. And Throsby makes sure you feel that change through some of the most natural, gorgeous prose I’ve ever poured into my eyeballs.
It’s hard to believe this is a debut novel. Apparently a career as a musician and song writer is GREAT training for a fiction author. The writing is gorgeous and evocative and full of passages that drove the breath from my lungs.
Goodwood was heavier than ever. It had a different feel of an afternoon. Even with the season changing and green shoots appearing in the dewy branches, everything felt dark and heavy with grief. There was grief in the awnings, and grief in the wheels of our cars, and grief at the bottom of our glasses. Smithy, who served many a glass from behind his beer-soaked bar, told Nan it was just like Watership Down.
‘That book scared the daylights out of me when I read it to my son,’ he said, ‘but that’s how it feels around here now. Like we’re the rabbits and the field is filling with blood.’
Oof. Wow. I cannot wait to read Throsby’s next book.
A huge thank you to Murder by Death, who first brought this book to my attention with her much more eloquent review a couple of years ago. You were so right, MbD!
The reasons that kept me from giving this a full five stars are similar to MbD’s reasons. While the romance was sweet, it felt a little tacked on. And regarding the mystery (super spoilery stuff behind the spoiler tag):