Book Review - The secrets of tomorrow

Friday, July 27, 2012

"The Book of Tomorrow," by Cecelia Ahern. William Morrow, 310 pp. $14.99

Sixteen-year-old Tamara Goodwin has just lost her father. A successful developer with properties around the world, Tamara spent her life in the highest lap of luxury -- "we spent our summers in our villa in Marbella, Christmas in our Verbier chalet, and Easter at the New York Ritz." -- until she and her mother realize that, like the man of their house, the fortune they had relied on was also gone.

To Tamara's greatest disdain, the only members of their group of friends and family that are willing to take them in long-term are her mother's brother, Arthur, and his tea-dress-wearing, obsessively tidy wife, Rosaleen. Tamara refers to them as the Deliverance Duo.

Within a week, she is uprooted from her posh Dublin existence and deposited in County Meath, a 15-minute drive from the nearest one-horse town.

Tamara spends her days scouring the neighboring landscape, specifically the Kilsaney castle. The old stone structure soothes her, though she's not sure why.

In an attempt to assuage her boredom, she boards the traveling library one morning and comes across a strange book. Where most surrounding it are paperbacks, this one is leather-bound, and padlocked.

When she is finally able to unlock the book she finds that the pages are handwritten, in her handwriting. It's a diary, supposedly her diary, but as she begins to read it she realizes that the entries are from the next day.

With the help of this diary, and of the people she meets around the castle and grounds, she begins to understand more of her past around the mysterious Kilsaney family, and more of her future around County Meath.

"The Book of Tomorrow" is magical, in part, perhaps, from its Irish setting. It reads like young adult fiction, because it's told from the perspective of a young-adult narrator. However, the story is appropriate for any age. It draws the reader in and carries them from page to page with ease. The suspense is captivating, and the writing is irresistible:

"I tried to tread carefully without making a sound, but the woods gave me away. Leaves rustling and echoes of twigs snapping and crunching beneath my feet alerted the walls to my arrival. I didn't know what building was ahead of me but it wasn't the castle, for I had passed that a while ago. ... The top of the wall was uneven, and it no longer touched what it once reached of. There was no roof, just a wall. I couldn't see a door or a window for the wall's entire length. I stepped to the edge of the woods, feeling like a hedgehog that had just left its natural habitat."

Author Ahern is best known for her debut novel, "P.S. I Love You," which was adapted into a film starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler. "The Book of Tomorrow" is available in hardcover and in paperback.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: