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The Start of Everything by Emily Winslow
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The Start of Everything

by Emily Winslow

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A special thank you to Edelweiss and HarperCollins for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The body of a young girl has washed up just outside Cambridge, England and we are introduced to the detective team of Chloe Frohmann and Morris Keene. The detectives each are battling their own issues while trying to solve the case before the press takes off with the story.

Told from five points of view in first person narrative, we hear from Chloe, Morris, Mathilde, Grace, and George. Where Winslow falls down is through the introduction of too many other characters that really muddy the waters; while I realize this might have been intentional because of the thriller/mystery genre, but there were a lot of unnecessary characters that disrupted any momentum she had with the plot.

This story had so much potential and could have really benefited from a substantive edit. The characters could've been developed more and the story line tightened up. There were times where I had no clue what was going on and I had to go back and try to figure out who was who and what was going on, again because there were simply too many characters that were not developed.

I was intrigued because it was marketed for fans of Kate Atkinson and Donna Tartt. I don't think anyone should have their work compared against Tartt, I feel that she is in a league all her own. That being said, I will definitely check out the other two books that feature Frohmann and Keene, I'm not ready to give up on them, I just think that Winslow hasn't hit her stride yet.
( )
  GirlWellRead | Feb 25, 2017 |
THE START OF EVERYTHING begins when a decomposed body is found washed up in the fens. The detectives are searching for clues to find out who this woman is. It also appears the police are not the only ones looking for the girl.

The books' chapters are categorized by people in the book. Each character has their own chapter, but yet they all intertwine. The book is not difficult to follow, although there are many twists and turns. You think you know what is going on then, another twist and the ending will be a definite surprise. I don't want to spoil the book, so I will end the review by saying THE START OF EVERYTHING IS a truly great read!

Rating: 4

Heat Rating: mild/hot

Reviewed By:Rae

My Book Addiction And More ( )
  MyBookAddiction | May 1, 2013 |
The Start of Everything begins when the body of a teenage girl is found washed up in the fens. Told from multiple perspectives, the novel follows the two detectives, Chloe and her partner Morris, as they track down the identity of the girl and the person who killed her. Interwoven are stories and flashbacks from people who become involved in the murder, or who were involved in the murder when it took place.

My favorite thing about this book is that it's a smart, complicated mystery that makes you think and takes time to sift through. All too often, mysteries are dumbed down or only about the romance or the drama while the mystery takes place on the side. In The Start of Everything, we get interesting, complex characters and the mystery really takes center-stage. I'm a fan of stories that take the time to show multiple viewpoints within multiple timelines, so for me, this was perfect; however, I can see people getting confused as they adjust to this sort of storytelling.

With all these different viewpoints, Emily Winslow covers a lot of big topics and does it well -- this is a book that makes you think, and I love that. Whether it be the difficulties of living with autism, what it's like to be a woman in a job dominated by men, what it's like to come back after injury in a high-risk job, sibling rivalry, family dynamics, etc. I came into this book thinking it'd be a fun mystery, but I loved how Winslow surprised me by delving into really serious, deep issues. Kudos to her.

The characters are all fantastic. I have to say, Mathilde is my favorite and I'm sad I didn't get to see more from her perspective, but I think Winslow did an excellent job in showing how she experiences the world differently from most people.

However, the ending just didn't really cut it for me. While the mystery gets solved, I still didn't get a good feeling of resolution. Some people like that, but there were a couple of loose ends I was hoping to see a conclusion for. Also, the book is separated into parts and the way the story moves through these parts is a bit jarring. I didn't mind the multiple perspectives, but the timeline was a bit strange to follow and took some getting used to. Again, this isn't a terrible thing, but it did take me out of the story a little bit.

Despite that, there is so much to love about The Start of Everything. The writing is beautiful, funny, and smart, and the mystery itself is just fantastic.

*Thank you to The Book Depository for providing me with a free copy in exchange for my honest review.* ( )
  sedelia | Apr 29, 2013 |
I saw this book recommended on the She Reads blog. http://www.shereads.org/2013/02/tell-me-something-true-a-visit-with-emily-winslo... I have enjoyed some of their past selections and as a lover of a good crime mystery I was persuaded to give this a try.

The story mainly takes place at Cambridge University. It is told by different narrators and to confuse things even more it jumps around in time, at one point as far as ten years in the past. Sometimes the same event is recounted by two different characters and you get alternating pieces to the puzzle depending on who is doing the telling. Different characters mistaken identities drive the plot of the mystery. I admit I was rather disengaged for the first two thirds of the novel but persevered in part due to the relative short length of the book (around 250 pages). I am glad I hung around for the ending because everything was deftly strung together for a bang up finish. The multi layered story came together flawlessly and I was amazed that the author was able to spin such a complex story in so few pages. I just wish that things were a little less confusing along the way. Another thoughtful choice by She Reads. ( )
  arielfl | Mar 17, 2013 |
As usual I received this book from GoodReads as part of a giveaway. Also as usual, despite the very kind and generous consideration of getting a free book, I give my candid opinions below.

The story of today's little gem is a tangled and complex mystery told from the viewpoints of several of the key players. During the course of the winding tale we hear narratives alternately from the investigators on the case, the victims and even the perpetrators themselves. Each fairly short chapter indicates the point of view represented as well as the time frame. In the end, the story closes with a satisfying click but wends wonderfully on the way getting there.

Winslow's writing style is good but not especially exceptional. The majority of the time her point is made but there are a few times at which things become a bit confused. This isn't entirely surprising considering the sheer number of threads on her literary loom, but it can be distracting. Her story is set at the UK's prestigious Cambridge university and is clearly written for a British audience. As a Anglophile I pride myself on knowing my fair share of Englishisms but I'll admit that at times I found myself a bit perplexed by some of the locally-specific references. It adds wonderful color but does send the reader off to Google from time to time which might be irritating to some readers.

Pondering the next person to whom to pass my own copy, I am left with a bit of a conundrum. The arc of the story is complex enough that those who prefer more straightforward drama may be put off. It is without doubt that any lover of the mystery genre will adore the novel but these are in fairly limited local supply.

In summary, Winslow's story is a wonderfully dramatic example of British crime drama. Her investigators are very flawed and human but still manage to end up in the right spot. No super-humanity here, just results. I'd also classify this as one of those delicious novels in which the reader thinks repeatedly that they have untangled the thread of the ending only to find out as pages pass that they had it wrong all along. Winslow takes her reader on a wonderfully unexpected journey that leads to a satisfying and solid conclusion. ( )
  slavenrm | Mar 7, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038534290X, Hardcover)

In this stunning psychological thriller for readers of Tana French, Kate Atkinson, and Donna Tartt, Emily Winslow has crafted a literary prism told through the eyes of her many intricately drawn characters. Masterly and mesmerizing, The Start of Everything will captivate until the very last page.
 
“If you don’t want to see me again, say so. But it’s not right to say nothing. It’s not right to go silent. You know what to do.”
 
Cambridge, England: Outside the city, the badly decomposed body of a teenage girl has washed up in the flooded fens. Detective Inspector Chloe Frohmann and her partner, Morris Keene, must work quickly to identify the victim before the press takes off with the salacious story.
 
Across the hallowed paths and storied squares of Cambridge University, the detectives follow scant clues toward the identity of the dead girl. Eventually, their search leads them to Deeping House, an imposing country manor where, over the course of one Christmas holiday, three families, two nannies, and one young writer were snowed in together. Chloe Frohmann begins to unravel a tangled web of passions and secrets, of long-buried crimes and freshly committed horrors. But in order to reveal the truth—about misaddressed letters, a devastating affair, and a murdered teenager—she may have to betray her partner.

“Emily Winslow effortlessly weaves together separate lives with intertwined lies, creating a powerful web of small deceits and horrifying misdeeds. The Start of Everything is a must read!”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:34 -0400)

When a Cambridge murder is tied to the inadvertent reading of a private letter, Detective Inspector Chloe Frohmann is forced to consider a life-changing betrayal while investigating a hallowed university, a troubled young woman and a modest country manor overshadowed by a deadly secret.… (more)

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