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The Steady Running of the Hour by Justin Go

The Steady Running of the Hour

by Justin Go

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2171876,654 (3.18)31



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In 1916, a few days before going to war, Ashley Walsingham falls in love with Imogen Soames-Andersson. In 1996 San Francisco, Tristan Campbell learns that when Ashley Walsingham died during the 1924 Mount Everest expedition, he left his money to Imogen Soames-Andersson, who never claimed it. If Tristan can prove he is a direct descendant of Imogene, he will gain the fortune. The catch: Tristan has only a few months to prove his connection or the money will be given to charity.
The story switches between Tristan's investigation and Ashley and Imogen's love story. Tristan's grandmother, the daughter of Imogen's sister, was born in rural Sweden, where Imogen and her sister spent the winter. Timing suggests that the baby could have been Imogen and Ashley's out-of-wedlock child. The days before Ashley leaves for war are the stuff of love's poetry. Go makes you believe their love is unique in all history. Imogen cannot understand why Ashley chooses the war over staying with her. They write beautiful letters to one another, but when Ashley almost dies, and again refuses to run away with her, Imogen breaks it off. Or does she? Ashley and Imogen's love story is breath-taking, the characters intense and perfectly flawed. The war is grimy and terrifying, the Everest expedition cold and fascinating.
Tristan's frantic ancestry search takes him all over Europe where he finds clue after clue, getting so close to discovery. I read the last 200 pages without breathing. The ending left me utterly disappointed. ( )
  elizabethcfelt | May 15, 2017 |
The ending of this book is SO BAD it completely overshadows the other 80–90% which is actually pretty good. Admittedly, the character development left a lot to be desired… but I’m willing to put up with that for a good historical mystery. Which this (mostly) was. It reminded me a bit of Possession by A.S. Byatt. (A novel I love and can’t recommend highly enough)

Please don’t read the rest of this if you don’t want spoilers. Tristan Campbell, a recent college history(?) graduate, has the McGuffin of a ridiculously large inheritance dangled in front of him, if he can find proof that his grandmother was the love child of star-crossed WWI lovers Imogene and Ashley. Tristan goes to London, Paris, Germany, Sweden, and finally Iceland in pursuit of the truth. He digs through libraries and archives, uses all of his savings, he sleeps outside, he goes without food, he hitchhikes, he steals a boat, ransacks an old house, begs a German postal worker…. the list is endless. And then he finally… FINALLY seems to have reached the answer and the end of the road, opens the door…. AND THE BOOK ENDS.

( )
  memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
Another one I started and liked but then it fizzled for me. (Via Audio).
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
Got to the end and was very disappointed. A lot of build up for nothing. This is my book club book so I am very curious to see how the discussion goes and what other readers got out of the book. It did not do much for me. A long, long, story with no real ending or much meaning (for me). ( )
  carolfoisset | Dec 6, 2015 |
My partner got me The Steady Running of the Hour by Justin Go. I'd never heard of it. Sometimes it's fun to dive into an unknown book!

Tristan Campbell receives a letter from a solicitor in London. He is told that there is an inheritance that he may be entitled to. But there are complications. The stipulations of the will state that whomever receives the inheritance must be directly descended from a particular person. This lineage must be proven. Oh, and there's a time limit.

Tristan embarks on a journey, both literal and figurative, to discover if he is indeed descended from the person specified in the will.

He discovers Ashley Walsingham, the writer of the will and a mountaineer who also fought in World War I. He also learns about the love of Ashley's life, Imogen.

Told from Tristan's point of view in the present, and Ashley and Imogen's point of view in the past, Tristan learns about Ashley's part in the war, his love for mountaineering, including one of the first expeditions to climb Mount Everest, and Ashley and Imogen's love affair.

A bit of a mystery, a love story, mountaineering and war history, a travelogue...this kept me turning pages and wanting to find out Tristan's heritage almost as much as he did! Fun!

You can read this review - and others - on my blog here:
http://notthenewyorktimesbookreview.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-steady-running-of-h... ( )
  lisalangford | May 26, 2015 |
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"In this mesmerizing debut, a young American discovers he may be heir to the unclaimed estate of an English World War I officer, which launches him on a quest across Europe to uncover the elusive truth. Just after graduating college, Tristan Campbell receives a letter delivered by special courier to his apartment in San Francisco. It contains the phone number of a Mr. J.F. Prichard of Twyning & Hooper, Solicitors, in London -- and news that could change Tristan's life forever. In 1924, Prichard explains, an English alpinist named Ashley Walsingham died attempting to summit Mt. Everest, leaving his fortune to his former lover, Imogen Soames-Andersson. But the estate was never claimed. Information has recently surfaced suggesting Tristan may be the rightful heir, but unless he can find documented evidence, the fortune will be divided among charitable beneficiaries in less than two months. In a breathless race from London archives to Somme battlefields to the Eastfjords of Iceland, Tristan pieces together the story of a forbidden affair set against the tumult of the First World War and the pioneer British expeditions to Mt. Everest. Following his instincts through a maze of frenzied research, Tristan soon becomes obsessed with the tragic lovers, and he crosses paths with a mysterious French girl named Mireille who suggests there is more to his quest than he realizes. Tristan must prove that he is related to Imogen to inherit Ashley's fortune -- but the more he learns about the couple, the stranger his journey becomes. . . . Part love story, part historical tour de force, Justin Go's novel is utterly compelling, unpredictable, and heartrending"-- ". . . A young American discovers he may be the heir to the estate of an English WWI officer and alpinist, left unclaimed for nearly 80 years, which launches him on a quest across Europe to uncover the true story of the officer's love affair with the woman who may or may not be his great-grandmother"--… (more)

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