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Review of Stranger by Keren David

by - April 19, 2018



Genres: Historical, Mystery
Pages: 368
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: 05/04/2018
Find The Author: (Website/Twitter)
Find The Book: Book Depository/AbeBooks UK/US
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(Received free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

Astor, Ontario. 1904. 
A boy staggers out of the forest covered in blood and collapses at the feet of 16-year-old Emmy. While others are suspicious and afraid, Emmy is drawn to him. Is he really the monster the townsfolk say he is? 

Astor, Ontario. 1994. 
Megan arrives from London for her great grandmother Emmy’s 105th birthday. It should be a happy family occasion, but Megan is nursing a broken heart and carrying a secret she fears might consume her. 


When I started this book I realised that one of my favourite tropes is a dual point of view across history. In this book we meet Emmy in 1904, when a strange boy covered in filth runs out of the woods holding a gun. Switching to Emmy's descendent Megan in 1994 we start to solve the mystery of who this boy is and what happened to his family.

 I felt that 1904 was better written than 1994, in the sense that I could feel that it was 1904. I had to keep reminding myself that it was supposed to be 1994 as I really wasn't getting any strong 90s vibes, which was a shame. I did enjoy seeing how the town changed over time though. The story is set in Canada, a place I don't get to read about often, so that was a nice change for me.

The book is absolutely about women, the relationships between relatives and loss. Megan doesn't connect well with her mother, they seem like different people whereas Emmy's mother is a practical, intelligent doctor and they seem to have a close relationship. When we meet Megan she's just left her life in London after choosing to have an abortion and is dealing with the sense of loss from that.

The book is kind of a mystery story but doesn't have the feel of one, there's no twists and turns that I can think of, no surprising moments. We just slowly learn what happened through the use of the dual POV but it was a great story all the same. The choices Emmy made for her life at the end of the story I completely understood and it was exactly what a girl would have done at that time.


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