I requested this as a review copy and I did receive one, but I actually started this book in the library. I spotted a different cover of it and it took me a moment to work out it was the same book! I immediately sat down for 45 minutes and lost myself in this amazingly beautiful, thought provoking story. And then went home and continued reading it!
There's an overall feeling of doom hanging over the book when I was reading Hephzibah's chapters and that's because she writes of 'Before'. Rebecca writes of 'After' - after Hephzibah has died. I found it difficult to connect with Hephzibah and I can't decide if this is because I knew she would die at some point or because overall, she was a very frustrating character. Rebecca has Treacher-Collins Syndrome and I strongly felt that Hephzibah should have been protecting her sister but instead she seemed to be constantly putting her down, letting Rebecca take the beatings for her and cared more about escaping for the night to go partying than working out a plan to run away. I know she was an abused child herself, but I still found it immensely difficult to like her.
Rebecca is easily the stronger character. You find out various secrets throughout her story and it slowly became clear just how strong a person she was. Her chapters gave me hope, that she might one day escape her prison and make a life for herself.
This book is a difficult read and deals with a lot of sensitive issues. A lot more than I was expecting! When I finished the story though, I definitely felt satisfied with the ending and even laughed a couple of parts. I'm really looking forward to Louisa's next book, Lies Like Love. I have no idea what it will be about but I know I will love it.