I am a huge fan of Camilla Läckberg’s work. She was the author that kickstarted my Scandicrime addiction with her Ice Princess book and I’ve not looked back since. I believe this is her latest book (in her website it appears as The Angel Maker’s Wife).
The publishing house is Harper (most of my Läckberg books are Harper, I believe) and beyond a stiff spine, it’s a lovely little book, good size font and nice translation.
Läckberg’s books always do a great job of creating a world full of layers, usually by intertwining different timelines and a significant group of people. What’s more, she usually can make you care about the myriad of characters she introduces with very little effort and, sometimes, with very little information about them. A couple strokes and, bam, you’re in love.
The blurb she offers on her website is as follows: At Easter 1974, a family from Valö just outside Fjällbacka goes missing. The only person left is Ebba, the daughter, who is one year old. She now returns to the island where her father once ran a boarding school with an iron hand. But soon her family are the target of an arson attack, and dried blood is found under the floorboards in the dining room. Can current events provide an answer to what happened to Ebba’s family?
As you can imagine, there’s several different stories weaved together: Patrik and Erica’s, as usual, Anna and Dan’s, Ebba and Tobias’, the five boys’ and their respective families and even those of the Tanum police force. Did I scare you yet? What if I said we also learn about Ebba’s family, going back several generations? This is not a character study, as much as a very interesting story, and a very well researched one, that treats its characters with the utmost respect and gives them the opportunity of shining through the pages and being real people, with stories and histories.
She also briefly touches on some very interesting subjects about what makes people act the way they do and what tragedy can do to us.
The only bad thing I can think of is that she, sometimes, abuses the cliffhanger. She swaps between characters and settings quickly and with ease but that can be frustrating when one character is getting close to finding out the answers. It’s what makes her books page-turners so I guess she wins there… I couldn’t put it down. I also disliked the final three pages where Erica and Patrick talk about the last threads. I’d rather be shown but lots of authors use this technique to tie loose ends before finishing the book. I’m just nitpicking though, the book was fantastic.
As for her writing style, it’s usually quite simple and straightforward, but very effective. As I said, with very few strokes she creates defined and well-rounded characters. You don’t really need to read her other novels to follow but they do add very nice depth and backstory, were you to feel a bit lost.
I’m not going to say much since it’s a really good story and I don’t wish to spoil anyone. I couldn’t recommend it more!
Have you ever read any of Camilla Läckberg’s books? What did you think?