Daniel's stories pull us into the ancient worlds of Northern Africa and Crete, to the not-so-distant past of war-torn England during the first world war, and finally into the modern east coast of the US. His accounts are tethered by the same forces that have always driven the human race: love and vengeance.
In each of his lives Daniel strives to find Sophia, his first love and original sin. By turn of fate, he succeeds in finding her many times over the long years only to lose her to some uncompromising circumstance. Once she is his brother's wife, another time she is old enough to be his grandmother, but always she is oblivious to their deep history. Apart from these obstacles, Daniel is also pursued by Joaquim, a corrupt soul seeking twisted retribution for old offenses.
Brashares entangles her audience so well that by the end of her novel the world appears changed. Her splendidly planned tale leaves us with the vivid and heavy impression that what goes around comes around, and not always in our favor. I am thrilled to have found this novel that is truly new: completely unlike anything I have ever read. Her words are placed beautifully and with care. Her characters are made not only of paper and ink, but of flesh and blood. Brashares' second break from young adult fiction is blessedly actually written for adults. With the language and finesse of a master storyteller, and an imaginitive, intellectually stimulating plot, this novel is one to place among your most treasured.
[both images via Ann Brashares' website]