“A shared sorrow can create unexpected warmth, even as it illuminates all the ways our world is ruined.”Nina de Gramont, The Christie Affair
Title: The Christie Affair
Author: Nina de Gramont
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 320 (Hardcover)
Published: February 1st, 2022
My Rating: ★★★ ¾
Read: 6/6/2022 – 6/9/2022
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one. I enjoyed most of it, but not without some initial confusion and some scenes and plot lines I could have lived without.
I’ll start with the title. It’s a bit misleading. The story is told by Nan O’Dae, the fictionalized version of Archie Christie’s mistress. Though Agatha Christie is present in the story and revolves around her disappearance, the story is largely about Nan and her backstory. While it was an interesting story, I spent the first fourth of the book trying to figure out why it’s titled The Christie Affair and when the perspective would change to Agatha. Though it’s not the biggest quip for me, it was distracting at first. As I said, Nan’s story was interesting, but it overpowered Agatha’s story.
My second issue with the book was the pacing. Even with Nan narrating, there were scenes with Agatha, Archie, and Chilton that didn’t involve Nan which felt a little off now and then. Mostly it was the placement and the number of storylines going on. Nan often times broke the fourth wall, making it feel like a ‘he said, she said’ tale. That was the point of the narration, but those moments jarred me out of the story being told.
Lastly, I didn’t care for some of the content in Nan’s backstory. Though a driving force for the plot, I found the scenes with the nuns and the priest upsetting. I’m sure I’ll get some flack for saying so. It’s one thing to acknowledge it than have to read it in detail. Especially when it’s not told in a way that’s informing.
My complaints out of the way, I’ll wrap this up by saying that I did like the book for the most part. The characters were likable and I like how they were written in a way that you’re rooting for all of them even though their aspirations conflict with at least one of the others. There was mystery, romance, and intrigue all in one with none of them too over the top.
I didn’t mean to dump on this as much as I did in my review. I find it hard to rate books that I like but have things in them I really didn’t like. I did enjoy it more than not. Before I knew it, the book was over. I actually liked Nan’s story over Agatha’s which was unexpected. Still, I would have also liked to have seen a more in-depth take on Agatha’s disappearance. Nan’s story was interesting enough to stand on its own.