Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

When Elspeth dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to Julia and Valentina, her twin nieces. The girls live in Chicago and they have never met their aunt; they don’t know anything about her, as their mother Edie doesn’t want to talk about her sister. They only know that Edie and Elspeth are also twins and that they have been estranged for the last twenty-one years. So when the girls receive a letter stating that Elspeth has bequeathed her entire estate to them (with two conditions: they must live in the apartment for an entire year before they may sell it and their parents are not allowed to set foot in the apartment), their parents are not happy about it. They don’t want Julia and Valentina to leave and they are concerned about the fact that the twins will soon live on their own in a foreign land. Nevertheless, the girls are thrilled and can’t wait to embark on the biggest adventure of their lives. So when they turn twenty-one, Julia and Valentina excitingly head to London. There, they are delighted to find out that their aunt’s apartment is overlooking Highgate Cemetery, where George Eliot, Karl Marx and other famous people are buried. The twin girls like to live in London and they become accustomed to their new freedom and come to know their new neighbours. Julia and Valentina meet Robert, their aunt’s former lover, who still mourns over Elspeth’s death, and Martin, who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and never leaves his apartment. As the girls soon become entwined in the lives of their neighbours, they also find out that they’re not alone in their apartment: Elspeth’s ghost is trapped there and tries to communicate with the twins. Having made this enthralling discovery, the girls are determined to unveil Edie and Elspeth’s secrets and to find out why the two have been estranged for such a long time. However, what they don’t know is the fact that this whole experience will change their lives forever!

Audrey Niffenegger has created a unique and haunting story about love, identity and rivalry and she has provided us with a tale full of mysteries, secrets and twists. Her Fearful Symmetry is beautifully written and suspenseful; its fascinating scenery and well-constructed plot capture the reader’s attention and the reader is immediately caught up in a world of deception and darkness. I really enjoyed reading about London and the historic Highgate Cemetery and I liked the characters, since they are original and well developed. Furthermore, I liked the fact that the novel contains gothic elements and I was intrigued by the relationship between the twins. The novel skillfully captures an intense and oppressive atmosphere and its dark setting will remind you of a Victorian ghost story. All in all, I really liked this novel and I recommend it to everyone who likes to read dark ghost stories!

I would like to thank Amanda McPherson from Regal Literary Inc. for sending me an advance reading copy of Her Fearful Symmetry!