Today is my first review for the #NetGalleyMonth, the fantastic event organised by chicksthatread.com. So first of all I would like to thank the publishers, Avon (HarperCollins) for sending me a copy of the book via Net Galley.
Title: The Atlas of Us
Author: Tracy Buchanan
Published: July 31st 2014 by Avon (HarperCollins)
Blurb: How far would you go for the one you love the most?
When Louise Fenton flies to Thailand to find her mother, Nora, after the Boxing Day tsunami, she fears the worst when the only trace she can find is her mother’s distinctive bag. In the bag is a beautifully crafted atlas owned by travel journalist Claire Shreve, with her notes and mementos slipped in-between the pages. The journal tells the story of Claire’s struggle to find her place in the world following a life-altering revelation, and a tumultuous love affair.
Louise treks across Thailand's scarred landscape, exploring Claire’s atlas to try to make sense of the connection between this woman and the mother she is so desperate to find.
As devastated people are beginning to put their lives back together, Louise uncovers the secrets that nearly destroyed Claire and the man she loved – the same secrets her mother has been guarding all these years …
THE ATLAS OF US will take you on a moving and enthralling journey across the globe, and into the most intimate spaces in a relationship. And it will find its way into your heart.
Review: I was very intrigued by the blurb of this book and by the beautiful cover. When I started reading it, I could sense that it was going to be an epic story and I was not wrong. Tracy Buchanan writes an impressive debut novel, that captures you from page one and takes you around the world in a gripping journey packed with adventures, secrets, struggles, devastation but also courage and love.
The Atlas of Us is a layered novel set in many different parts of the world and in different periods of time that tells the story of two different women Claire and Louise. Claire is a journalist that after coming to terms with the fact that she is infertile starts reconsidering her life, her job, her mariage... then it's when she meets Milo, a sometimes dark character that has had a troubled life in an even more troubled family. But they somehow click. Claire is a fascinating character to read about: stronger than she seems, with a huge heart, we accompany her on her journey not only around the world but through her life, with its up and downs. And Milo is one of the most intriguing men I have read about, he had an aura of mistery surrounding him, with all his secrets, his changes in personality but with so much love to give. It was really interesting getting to know him better, I think I hated and loved him in equal parts though.
As for Louise, she is in Thailand after the tsunami looking for her stranged mother. But then she finds the body of a woman with the bag and passport of her mother but with an Atlas and necklace belonging to Claire. She doesn't know who this Claire is and what connects her to her mother, but trully believing that her mother is still alive she starts her own journey around the devastated country to try to locate her. Little by little, she unfolds the secrets surrounding her mother and Claire and what brought them together.
As I said, Tracy creates an utterly gripping story that will suck you and will have you turning page after page wanting to know more about the lifes of these women. I especially loved Tracy's way of describing, not only all the places this journey took us to but also her way of describing people, how you could see their soul through her writing. Some of the secondary character were a treat to read about, from the haunted Holly to the lovely Filipe. I loved this book, it was raw but beautiful and it merged the two stories perfectly. I totally recommend it.