After Sebastian's tragic death, Adora tries to move on with Oliver, but it's Genevieve - James and Miranda's daughter - that will fill the void left in her heart. For the child, the summers spent on the island are magical and her love for Adora is so great that she tries to emulate her in everything, something that deeply displeases Miranda. However, as the years go by, Genevieve starts to see some flaws on Adora's perfect world and soon she sees herself involved in a web of lies.
Told from the perspective of these four women, this is a story about love, jealousy, obsession and betrayal and how entangled their lives become.
I have to admit, even though I liked the synopsis I was a little afraid the narrative would be a little dry, that the pace would be too slow and the characters wouldn't be that engaging. Fortunately these fears were unfounded because what I found was a beautifully written story about four women and a tragedy that changed their lives.
The story was a lot more engrossing than I thought it would be. There was a lot of mystery surrounding these characters; we know they have a history but we're not entirely sure of what happened, at least for a while. But then, as the story progressed the author started to slowly unveil what took place and how it entangled the lives of these four women.
Also, the fact that this story takes place in a Mediterranean island really helped to create this idea of a charming and almost perfect world where Adora and her husband lived in a beautiful house, where they would through glamorous parties to their equally glamorous guests. It was almost liked they lived in this perfect little bubble where nothing bad would ever happen and where everything was beautiful and peaceful. It was easy to see why Genevieve was so fascinated by it and why she would always be so ecstatic to go to the island.
As for the characters, I think a lot could be said but I'll try to keep it short.
My favorite thing was the fact that Sebastian was the heart of this story without even being present for most of it. He was quite innocent and naïve and had a deep desire to help others - traits that made him seem a bit childish but also rather lovable. The people that loved him the most would be quite protective of him and would just want to keep him forever with them. It was this intense love for Sebastian that brought these women together and affected their lives so much.
As for the other characters, Miranda surprised me the most. At first she came across as a jealous woman that had suffered a lot and was unable to stand up for herself. I actually liked her and felt sorry for her but as the story progressed I started to see that she was canny and at the end of the book she seemed like a completely different person. As for Genevieve, I liked her growth and the fact that at the end she seemed wiser and more attentive to her surroundings than when she was younger.
Finally there was Adora. She seemed to be at the centre of the drama but as far as character development is concerned, I believe she's the one that grew the least. She stayed pretty much the same throughout the story and she changed very little. Also, even though I understood her grief and general sadness because of Sebastian, I felt that that card was played too often and because of that her chapters seem a bit repetitive.
I give this book 3 out of 4 stars. It surpassed my expectations, especially because of the way it ended. The last third of the book is superb and the twists added by the author took me by surprise. I wouldn't say this is a light read but it has a really nice flow and the characters have an interesting development.
A touching story that will keep you glued to its pages and will surprise you until the end.
Buy "The Art of Devotion" on Amazon
Buy "The Art of Devotion" on Barnes and Noble