First Lines: My brother, Tyler, died three times: first in an abandoned building in Washington, D.C.; then in the back hall of a funeral home in McLean, Virginia; and finally on the stage of Ford’s Theatre, just a few feet from where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. I couldn’t blame myself for the first two, but the third one? That was entirely my fault.
I’ve been really behind on my books from Edelweiss lately, and this was one of them. I was interested in the premise but it wasn’t one that had been on my to-read list for ages or anything. I’d just read the synopsis and thought it looked good.
Megan’s brother is dead. Cops are saying that Tyler died of a drug overdose–possibly suicide–but Megan can’t believe it. Determined to find the truth, Megan begins going through the things Tyler left behind, searching for answers. As an artist, Megan knows the power of objects and the meanings they can hold. But more than being an artist, Megan has developed the ability to see memories attached to the things her brother treasured…and they show a brother she never knew. With the help of an artifact detective who shares her ability, Megan finds herself drawn into a world of personal and national traumatic memories. And with a little help from a classmate and her brother’s friend, Megan finds the brother she lost…but is he the brother she recognizes?
This was…interesting. It took me a while to get into this book because I’ve been reading a lot of dark books lately (and that gets to me), so I had to distance myself a bit before I could actually enjoy it.
But enjoy it I did. This was a surprising read on a couple of levels.
I knew this was supposed to be a mystery, since Megan doesn’t really know what happened to her brother and why he died. But the mystery is actually good. There are unexpected twists. And it’s not always the focus of the story, so you don’t get burnt out on it before the end.
The whole supernatural Megan-can-see-an-object’s-history thing was a bit weird and I’m not sure it got explained well enough for me, but I bought into it. It became a fixture in this story and I really wanted to see how it would play out, even though it sometimes came across a bit cliche or just bizarre.
The characters are a huge selling point for this book. This is a family going through turmoil, with their 18 year old son dead and more questions than answers. That’s devastating, and the characters all react in different ways to their grief, just like real people. But more than that, even though there are so many people grieving, they have interesting motivations when it comes to living their lives. Megan has something to get out of bed for in the morning while you can see another character feeling like they don’t have that. The characters were flawed, but they were real.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this story was its fixation on Abraham Lincoln. Since this story is set in D.C. and Megan’s mom works at Ford’s Theatre, most of the characters have more than a passing interest in the past president. It’s kind of weird how obsessive it sometimes gets, but for the most part, it was really cool. As a history buff, I approve. (And there are so many facts in this that most people don’t know about the people surrounding the president!)
This was surprising. And it was those surprises that kept me coming back.