Faithful Place Had Me Thinking About Family

BlogHer Review

I am not a big mystery reader... but Tana French's writing pulled me right into Faithful Place. From the first page I could tell that her use of words and the way she described the scene was going to make the book enjoyable for me.

The book opens with teenage Frank Mackey standing at the top of Faithful Place waiting to run away with his sweetheart, Rosie Daly. He was ready to leave his dirt poor, dysfunctional family in Dublin and start a fresh life with Rosie in England. When Rosie doesn't show, and Frank finds a goodbye letter, he assumes the note is for him and she's decided to dump him because his family really is just too much trouble to risk. So... he decides to take off anyway.

Twenty-two years later we find Frank is a divorced undercover cop with a 9 year old daughter. He's never returned to Faithful Place or to his family. Other than some phone calls and meetups with his youngest sister (Jackie), he's had no contact at all. But, that all changes the day Jackie calls and tells him someone found a suitcase hidden in an abandoned house... and it's Rosie's.

So begins the mystery of what really happened to Rosie Daly. I refuse to ruin a good mystery (and oh, was this a good mystery?!?!) but I will go as far as to say that Tana French kept me guessing. It was all I could do not to flip to the last chapter to get the answers. I'm still finding myself go over the twists (and untwists, and retwists) in my head. I will absolutely pick this book up again and give it another read.

While mystery doesn't tend to be a draw for me, Faithful Place really was so much more. I found myself drawn to the location, the time, the people. Oh my... THE PEOPLE! The Mackey family was so real. Dysfunctional as hell... but real. Raw. I loved the background told while solving the mystery. While I wanted to know what happened to Rosie... I was actually more interested in learning about Frank's family. I loved following the dynamic of the individual relationships and then the group as a whole. I especially enjoyed "watching" Frank interact individually with each of his siblings (Shay, Carmel, Kevin and Jackie) both in the present and 22+ years past. Slowly learning details about the family members just kept pulling me in. I find myself wondering how they're getting on now.

I simply have to applaud Tana French for creating believable characters, and such a fully developed family, while still following through with such an amazing tale of mystery. I'm going to be adding her other novels to my reading list just so I can find out if she's always so good with making people real.


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