Lexie Madison developed out of nothing like a Polaroid, she curled off the page and hung in the air like incense-smoke, a girl with my face and a life from a half-forgotten dream.

– Tana French, The Likeness

I do not usually read books like this, and I don’t know what drew me to this one. The premise of this book is so absurd. And yet this is a book that has kept me up until the small hours of the morning every night this week. When I first started this book I could barely even get through a single chapter and I spent weeks ignoring it, but then I picked it up again and something happened somewhere and suddenly I couldn’t put it down, I had to know more, I had to see just how it would all unravel.

When I finished it earlier today I was left feeling feeling exhausted and sad and not quite satisfied- the surreality of so much of it, too many loose ends, the rushed hea, too many bits i didn’t understand from not reading the first book- but still I loved it. The writing is beautiful and the characters are real and I was startled at how attached I became to them, by just how badly I wanted to believe in them, which only made it hurt to realize just what was going on under the beautiful exterior of the house they live in and their seemingly perfect friendship- just how broken they were. There were parts of this book that felt wholly unrealistic, but the characters were real and fascinating, which grounded the book and made it work. I also loved how lexie was always there, a character in her own right even though she was dead, and even the house seemed to take on a character of its own. The descriptions of the house were vivid and dreamy and it was just as fascinating and painful to learn about the history of the house and what it represented to so many people as it was to read about the actual characters. This book cost a lot more than i would usually pay, as do the authors other titles, but I will be getting in the woods and faithful place despite this.