Destiny entwines the lives of Abigail, Beatrice, and Cecelia (the eponymous A, B, and C). Although we meet them only briefly – both at the beginning of this book and again at the end – their stories are embroiled in the rest of the tale – that of Frank and Delphine, with whom we travel on a journey of love, of disaster, of heartache, and of recovery. This book is about loveable characters and how their lives are pulled together by destiny.
I’ve been a fan of Voinks’ work for sometime now, after having read a great many of her short stories on her blog (which is well worth checking out if you like short fiction, by the way – she catches snapshots of life in her stories with observational skills that I could only ever aspire to have). In fact, I read a lot of short-story blogs, and one thing that I’ve noticed is that sometimes, the author struggles to make the transition from short shorts to longer shorts or full-length novels. So I was intrigued to read something by Voinks with a little more to chew on – and I wasn’t disappointed.
I think the term ‘page-turner’ is used too often but it’s a term that definitely applies in this case. The story is so intriguing that I was
keen desperate to find out what happened, and that kept me up way past my bedtime (after which I bemoan my lack of sleep but in reality, it’s an occurrence that excites me a lot more than it probably should). The book begins with a series of snapshots of the lives of each character, after which it focuses on just two – Frank and Delphine. It’s this technique in particular that had me racking my brain to work out what was happening, and mostly, I wanted to know how the initial three snapshots connected with the rest of the story. After racing to the end having all revealed, I wasn’t disappointed – the connection is a strong one and what’s even better is that it wasn’t one I couldn’t have possibly guessed at before.
This book, at its heart, is a mystery but it’s one that is embroiled in strong character development and intriguing plot. It’s emotional and heartfelt, but not in a way that detracts from the story line. It’s believable yet unbelievable all at the same time. It’s short, but it’s complete – the story is well-rounded with closure and for me at least, I wouldn’t want it to be any longer. In fact, it’s structured more like a short story than a novel (and I don’t mean just in its length) – it has the feel of a photograph over a movie and that adds a certain element of rapidity but also of satisfaction. It’s a quick bite of something interesting, a snack rather than a four-course meal, a pleasant jog around the park in the sunshine rather than an epic marathon. It retains all of the delights of Voinks’ shorter works whilst adding a little length and a little extra bite.
It’s most definitely a book that I would recommend, and for me, I fear it’s the beginning of a long love affair between me and Voinks’ work. I don’t know whether she has written anything of any greater length, something more akin to a tour de force, but I’d like to read something like that by her – something that I can really get my teeth into. In the meantime though, I’ll continue to enjoy her short stories with the same vigour as before.