This book won the Whitbread First Novel Award in 2004. Well-deserved, I say. The author was in her twenties at the time. I didn’t realise at first that House of Glass was also hers. Out of the two, I much prefer Eve Green.
The story is narrated by Eve, who at eight years old was sent to live with her grandparents in rural Wales after the death of her mother in Birmingham. Many years later, a pregnant Eve has flashbacks to that summer when a local girl went missing and at the same time Eve was looking for answers about her own life. It is character-driven, going deep into the flaws, motivations and emotions of the protagonist. The setting, character development and atmosphere are all excellent. There is a tendency to over-write, which I usually find irritating, but it was at a tolerable level for me. Something that did annoy me, however, was the book’s unequal division into three parts: Book 1 occupies two thirds of the novel, Book 2 for almost all of the rest, leaving 11 pages for Book 3. A small detail, I know, but why bother to have a Book 3?
I recommend this book, even if you’re normally reluctant to read a slow-burner, because it’s very compelling.
This Harper Perennial edition was published in 2008.