Julie Owen Moylan ~ That Green Eyed Girl
1955: In a cramped apartment on the Lower East Side, school teachers Dovie and Gillian live as lodgers, unable to reveal the truth about their relationship. They guard their private lives fiercely – until someone guesses their secret.
1975: Twenty years on, in the same apartment, Ava Winters is desperately trying to conceal her mother’s fragile mental state from the critical eyes of their neighbours. But, one sweltering July morning, Ava’s mother escapes.
Alone after her mother’s departure, Ava takes delivery of a parcel. The box is addressed only to ‘Apartment 3B’, and contains a photograph of a woman with the word ‘LIAR’ scrawled across her face.
Seeking refuge from her own crisis, Ava determines to track the owner of the photograph down. And, in so doing, discovers a shocking chain of kindnesses, lies and betrayals – with one woman at the centre of it all…
I wanted to love this one. A forbidden romance set in New York? Perfect.
Sadly, I just couldn’t get into it. The story is nothing new and I’ve read other books that better handle the subject and even include the same experiences.
Not one character is likeable, or indeed relatable, which meant I wasn’t invested in their lives. Dovie is just irritating. She doesn’t stand up for herself, nor for Gillian who she claims to love. Her endless lies make no sense whatsoever and she deserves everything that happens to her.
The character of Judith – while unpleasant – is well-written and the most believable. She is a detestable villain and she alone felt well-rounded and engaging.
The dual timeline is a good idea, but there is no distinguishing voice between them. Ava and Dovie read like the same person, which affected my enjoyment of the book.
There also seemed to be a lot happening in the book. All of the topics were important, but it felt like the author had too much to put in and couldn’t decide which to include. It’s not badly written, but is a bit slow in places, which doesn’t help with engagement.
When we finally discover the link between the two timelines, it’s disappointing and unsatisfactory.
This book had so much potential but unfortunately doesn’t live up to expectations.
I received a copy from Michael Joseph Publishing for the Grazia Book Club. Opinions my own.