The Girl Below by Bianca Zander is a story that weaves the past and present of Suki, a woman nearing thirty, in a most interesting way. This is a novel that makes you question reality and whether what you remember is always the truth or if the truth of your memories is buried somewhere deep inside of you.
Suki is at a crossroads in her life. She has been living in New Zealand for the last ten years but after her mother passes away she decides to go back to London. Having no place to stay she ends up bunking with a friend but after months of not finding work she is most definitely overstaying her welcome. An old family friend Pippa calls and asks Suki to stay with her mother for a few days and while she really doesn’t want to she doesn’t have a choice since at least it’s a roof over her head and food to eat.
Peggy’s apartment has always been creepy to Suki, even as a young girl. There has always been this stone statue of a young girl Peggy calls Madeline that has freaked Suki out for as long as she can remember and it’s still there and Suki finds herself no more comfortable with it than she ever was. Afterwards Pippa offers a room to Suki in exchange for staying with their son Caleb while they are away. Caleb is sixteen and at a time in his life where he wants nothing more than to cause as much trouble as he can. Suki and Caleb do seem to connect, more than they should, as Suki seems to find an understanding from Caleb that she gets from no one else. When Peggy takes a turn for the worse, both Suki, Caleb, and Pippa’s brother head for Greece to be with the whole family.
Now for the most part I found the story meandered somewhat but the parts where Suki travels back in time to when she was a child I found very interesting and I wish more of the story would have focused somehow on that because it’s what I enjoyed most. Suki remembers a big party her parents had where Suki, her parents, and some others end up trapped in an old air raid shelter that had been in the courtyard of their building. Suki remembers the lights going out and feeling sludge and slime and yet something far more scary than that when she loses her balance on the ladder and loses contact with her mother. As Suki continues to travel back in time in her dream state she uncovers piece by piece more and more of what had happened on that night in the air raid shelter and it is these memories that enable her to move forward and put her life together once again.
I read The Girl Below by Bianca Zander for her book tour with TLC Book Tours so be sure to check out the other tour stops to see what everyone else thought of the book. Bianca can be found on Facebook and Twitter and you can pick up your own copy of The Girl below here in the US and here in Canada.
Source: Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours and the Publisher. No compensation was received for this review and all thoughts and opinions are my own.