Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gillespie and I by Jane Harris

I didn't know what I was getting into when I started this book. The synopsis honestly didn't give me any clear insight at the point of the book. I knew that it involved a painter, and that the story involved a mystery.

Well, of course, the story is so much more than that. After the death of her aunt, Harriet Baxter travels to Glasgow where she befriends the Gillespies, most particularly Ned Gillespie, a painter. The story opens with an almost 80 year old Harriet starting a memoir about this time, mostly to let the world know about Ned, who never got the attention she thinks he deserved.

More than half the book is Harriet's time getting to know the Gillespies. Aside from Ned, there is his wife Annie and their two children Sybil and Rose; there is Ned's mother Elspeth and his siblings Mabel and Kenneth. Each character was so distinctively written out that I felt I knew all of them and their home, where most of the first part of the story takes place.

We then get into the meat of the story, the mystery. This part was so compelling and frustrating, but not frustrating in a bad way. It was frustrating because of all the lies. There was a sensational trial, which we knew was coming because Harriet kept hinting at it. I must admit, I held my breath when the verdicts were read.

Now, the story of the elderly Harriet in 1933 was just as compelling. There is a little bit of a mystery going on their, too, involving a woman Harriet has employed to help her in her old age.

As you can probably tell, I'm only giving you the bare bones, here, mostly because I want you to experience the story the same way I did: with no perceived notions and not being prepared for anything.