Review: The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

Another book I received in a subscription box is “The Disappearances” by Emily Bain Murphy. I always do my best to try to use the clues the companies give to guess the books that will be included, but I was absolutely surprised by this choice! I was very delighted with the surprise, and I was so excited when I found out it was set in the 1940’s! I have been reading too much contemporary fiction recently and got really burnt out, and this was just the change I needed.

First, a synopsis from Amazon…

35529075Every seven years something disappears in the remote town of Sterling: people’s reflections, the stars in the sky, the ability to dream. Aila realises that her mother may be to blame for the curse. But some mysteries are buried very deep and some secrets want to stay hidden – and one young woman’s desire to uncover the truth may not be enough to save Sterling from the past.

A beautifully told story of love, loss and finding the truth – no matter how difficult that may be.

So, the official synopsis doesn’t provide much information, so I’ll clue you in to the set-up for the series:

The year is 1942, and Aila’s mother has just died. She and her younger brother Miles are being sent to live with her mother’s best friend in a small town so their father can go fight in the war. Before she leaves, she comes across a volume of Shakespeare that her mother had scribbled over, as well as a letter to a mysterious individual accompanied by  a  ring. When Aila and Miles arrive in Sterling, they realize that the town is very odd: people don’t have reflections, some things don’t get wet when it rains, they can’t see the stars, they cease to dream, and all the color seems to leave their paints and crayons when they try to use them. The whole town believes that these Disappearances are linked to Aila’s mother, and she and her brother are ostracized. I really really enjoyed this book. There are loads of allusions to classic literature and herbology that make it absolutely delightful. I really enjoyed the characters’ discoveries of the roots of the Disappearances and finding Variants to counter the effects as well.

I also really enjoyed the depiction of Aila and Miles’ struggle to cope without both of their parents as well as discovering their mother’s past. The author did a very good job portraying the pain of their loss and the embarrassment of having to learn about their mother’s past from people who developed a hate for her.

I thought the storyline was excellent and the idea behind the Disappearances was absolutely inspired. However, as the book began to wrap up, I found myself wanting to learn more about how the Disappearances began. I felt that it was wrapped up too quickly and not much was explained. It was far too rushed, at least for me. However, maybe that is what the author intended, and she may address this again in a future volume.

Overall, though, I would highly recommend this book — especially if you are a fan of classic literature!

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