Review: The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern
Imagine you are a teenage girl whose life has just been turned upside-down and inside out. Everything you blithely took for granted is gone, and in its place you are surrounded by strangeness and secrets and mystery. Imagine that, because of everything that has happened, you now look at life differently- thinking back on your past actions with regret and wishing you knew then what you know now. Who among us hasn’t wished that last thought at least once in our lives? Imagine then, if you were to have possession of a book that would give you a glimpse into your future – of what would happen to you the next day. How would that change you? What would you do with that knowledge? That is what Tamara Goodwin must decide when she happens upon an strange, locked volume inside a traveling library- what to do with the foreknowledge of tomorrow.
With the sudden death of her father, Tamara and her mother learn their privileged lifestyle was a house of cards about to crumble. Forced to leave their opulent home and wealthy friends behind in Dublin, the pair are forced to go stay with Tamara’s aunt and uncle in the quiet Irish country-side of County Meath. Uncomfortable with relatives she barely knows and cut off from both her usual diversions and her old friends, Tamara is forced to think about her life and seek new friends and diversions. Among the first of these diversions is the ruins of a castle on the grounds where she now lives. Although, in reality, the castle is nothing more than a ruin, Tamara refuses to see it that way. To her, it is as vital and real as the trees and animals in the forest that surround it. This attitude becomes quite understandable as the story unfolds.
Among the first of her new friends is a young man named Marcus who drives the traveling library van. When Tamara first meets him he is looking for a Sir Ignatius Power, who is on his list of library patrons. Sir Ignatius turns out to be Sister Ignatius, a nun from the nearby order who ends up befriending Tamara. Indeed, when Tamara is confounded by the mysterious locked book she gets from the traveling library, it is Sister Ignatius who helps her unlock it and persuades her that writing in the blank volume may be helpful for Tamara. The first time that Tamara chooses to take the Sister’s advice, she finds words in her own hand already on the pages. Astonishingly, the words don’t describe things that have already happened, but things that are to happen the next day.
Convinced at first that what is written is a trick or there is some other reasonable explanation, Tamara soon finds out the book is eerily accurate. From that point on she sees it as her way of uncovering the mysteries surrounding her and perhaps righting wrongs before they can happen.
Cecelia Ahern does a wonderful job of immersing the reader in the mind of this young girl. She creates characters that are full and vivid and very real, as well as creating a sense of place that makes you feel as though you are there with Tamara. The sense of mystery that borders on the paranormal is created with a deft hand, making it all seem very possible.
I highly recommend this tale of mystery and self-discovery that reminds us that we are all connected… at times, in the most interesting ways.
The Book of Tomorrow releases in February 2011 through HarperCollins