I like the word unputdownable, as many of you will know (whether it's a real word or not) and in my opinion this book is the very definition of the word. In fact it was so unputdownable that I was in danger of not being able to get on with my daily life until I had finished it, and I haven't read a book that has made me feel that way in a VERY long time.
At the beginning of the book, Margot Delacroix has just died. She learns she is to be sent back to earth, renamed Ruth, to be her own guardian angel. I found it hard to get my head around this concept at first, and was worried that if the rest of the book was like this, I wasn't going to have a clue what was going on throughout.
I needn't have worried because it soon becomes apparent that Ruth is just as confused as the reader. She has to learn how to be a guardian angel whilst watching her old self, Margot, live her life from the beginning. Throughout the course of Margot's life, Ruth learns that while she can influence certain events, other things are set in stone by fate and all she can do is sit back and watch.
The imagery in the book, particularly relating to the guardian angels and matters of free will and fate, was just beautiful. The author uses the kind of description and imagery that makes my writerly side wish I'd written it! Jess-Cooke has a lovely writing style, and manages to make the reader sympathise with a main character who should actually be fairly unlikeable.
The book deals with some tough themes including child abuse, and I have seen reviews criticising the author for this. Whilst I wasn't expecting it when I started the book, I didn't find it unnecessary or gratuitous as I have seen it described. Whilst child abuse is horrific, we must remember that this is a work of fiction and that what happens to Margot in her childhood has some bearing on her behaviour as an adult and therefore is relevant to this book. Any characters in the book who are troubled quite literally have demons, evil beings who latch on to people and try to influence them to do the wrong thing. Some are more successful than others.
I was disappointed when I had finished simply because there was no more to read. I thought the ending was perfect, although obviously I won't go into it here (if you have read the book, let me know what you thought). As a reader I want to find plenty more novels as riveting as this and as a writer I wish I could write something even half as good! All in all this is a stunning novel.