Ellie had always lived in her sister Lila’s shadow. Lila was the mathmatical genius in the family and Ellie’s parents were very successful also. Yet, while Ellie was only average in most things she loved her sister. When Lila disappears and is later discovered murdered, Ellie’s life is turned upside down. Nothing is ever the same after that. Ellie’s parents eventually divorce and Ellie herself wanders aimlessly through her life for several years.
Ellie ends up confiding in a friend, a professor of hers who she trusts. Andrew is the one person she can pour out all her feelings to. She tells him all about Lila, about their lives growing up, about how the family and she herself feel about the murder. She invites him into her home…and then he betrays her confidence by writing a novel about the murder. The novel is a bestseller and eventually Ellie reads it in order to discover who Andrew names as Lila’s killer.
Imagine Ellie’s surprise when years later, as a coffee buyer, Ellie, in a not so chance encounter in a cafe has a strange yet eeringly familiar man approach her. It turns out he is the man who had been accused of being Lila’s killer. Somehow though Ellie just can’t believe it’s him. He ends up leaving Ellie a mathmatical journal that Lila had that had disappeared when she died and this leads Ellie on a search to find out whether this man Peter was actually the killer or it was someone else. This takes her on a journey that brings her much more than she expected. It brings her both a better knowledge of the intimate side of her sister that she hadn’t known existed and at the same time she learns a lot about herself too.
Much of the story deals with two of my favorite things-coffee and numbers. I really enjoyed reading about the mathmatical sequences and the need to prove certain equations. Numbers are simple, clear and concise-they are unemotional-you know what to expect from them. I think that’s what I love about them. Then the parts about the coffee buying and the process behind getting the beans ready was fascinating. If it’s one thing I can’t live without it’s my coffee.
I’m going to leave you with a few quotes I enjoyed…
- ‘Walking through my mother’s garden as a child, I was enthralled by the way the heady sweetness of jasmine gave way to the tartness of lemon trees, or the way musky wisteria was buttressed by the piney smell of sage. I loved the crispness of peppermint against a carpet of cedar bark mulch, the earthliness of roses paired with delicate lavendar.’ (pg 29, No One You Know by Michelle Richmond)
- ‘Everything about the moment was stunningly familiar. Had I been there before? Had someone described this very scene to me? Or maybe, I had simply read it all in a book. Sometimes it felt as if books and life formed a strange origami, the intricate folds and secret shadows so inextricably connected, it was impossible to tell one from the other.’ (pg 303, No One You Know by Michelle Richmond)
No One You Know is beautifully written both in its story and descriptions. Ellie is an easy character to connect with and you feel with her the emotions of all she is going through. It’s also a novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat a bit as Ellie goes to all lengths to discover what really happened to her sister. This is a book I would recommend. Some might find the mathmatical stuff overwhelming but it wasn’t for me and it does not in any way dominate the story.
You can visit Michelle’s website here and her blog here. The paperback edition of No One You Know releases on May 19 and you can buy it here in the US and here in Canada. Please check back sometime in June as I’ll be having a bit of a giveaway of a few of Michelle’s books.