The String Diaries is narrated in three timelines – Snowdonia now, Oxford in 1979 and Godollo, Hungary in 1873. We begin in Snowdonia with Hannah Wilde driving injured husband Nate away from whatever injured him to the bolt hole – Lyn Gwyr farmhouse. She’s been driving for 4 hours. She has to scan the farmhouse and surrounds to check for ambush before crossing the bridge. Their daughter Leah is asleep on the back seat.
This tense scene left me with questions … why do they need a bolt hole? What has injured Nate? Why do they have to be so careful? Who is going to ambush them?
We leave this timeline on a cliff hanger – Hannah has just got Nate inside when there’s a crash to the front door!
Next, were in Oxford 1979 with Charles Meredith. He’s due to deliver a lecture in Princeton, New Jersey in 6 weeks time and he’s using Balliol’s library for research. More questions from me with this scene but the predominant one … who is the girl? What is her significance?
Intrigue, intrigue, intrigue!
At the end of this timeline, we’re left on a cliff hanger. Have they survived the crash? Why did they run?
We alternate between these timelines as the tension and intrigue builds. Each chapter is very exciting but we still don’t know where the story is leading or what has been the cause. It’s not until I was 90+ pages into the story when I started making links and connecting with clues as to the relevance of the characters and what could be behind the terror experienced by the characters. I still didn’t know for sure who, what or why until the timeline in 1873 comes into force and my suspicions were proved accurate.
The plot in this supernatural thriller is AMAZING! and the characters are fabulous too. I loved the way we ended a timeline on a cliff hanger, making me want to turn those pages to see what would come next! The Snowdonia scenes are really atmospheric. The isolation and weather contributing to those heart pounding experiences. I loved the historical timeline too – the landscape, customs and characters felt very authentic. I loved that I never quite knew whether I could trust Sebastien or not and that although I guessed about Gabriel, I was never quite sure about him either.
The String Diaries is a story about a love obsession and the desire to own, control and possess, which echoes across time and devastates. It’s a story that will hold you in its grip, not only while you are reading but for some time afterwards as well.
A debut novel, I’ll definitely be looking out for more from this author in the future.
I would like to thank Caitlin Raynor (@bookywookydooda) at Headline for a proof copy in exchange for an honest review.