When Robert gets a middle-of-the-night call from his little brother Charley, he feels justifiably aggrieved: he’d been promised that it wouldn’t happen again. He had a case to take to trial in just a few hours, and instead of getting a decent night’s sleep he was dragging himself out of bed and driving to the University where Charley worked as an English lecturer to help deal with yet another emergency.
Robert was possibly going to kill his little brother, but first they had to track down the obsequious clerk from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. You see, Charley has a slight advantage over other lecturers; they may bring a story to life metaphorically, but Charley can go one better.
This is primarily the tale of two brothers and the relationship between them; it just so happens that their relationship is complicated by a literal cast of characters, and the stress of the secret kept by the Sutherland family since Charley was born. Prosaic Robert needs to reconcile with whimsical Charley and decide whether fictional people are real enough to be worth fighting for.
I want to say that this is the best book I have read all year, but it’s only mid-January*, which removes any real accolade from that statement. Instead, I’ll just have to say that it’s the best story I’ve read in a long, long time. I was expecting something along the lines of Jasper Fforde but got something more sincere instead. Every now and again you come across a story which makes you almost mourn when you finish it. This was one of those books.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
* This review was written in the second week of 2020