The language is intense and powerful, communicating the power that the quest exerts. All the characters have fractured lives and relationships from which the reader is distanced; but the author explores, sensitively, the relationship between the friend who is ill with cancer, her daughter, and the historian.
We watch the past, trawl it for interest, illumination, understanding, but the future watches us too, presses its face against the window, watches as you walk towards your love, as you make that decision, as you plan and deceive and invent. We exist in all these time frames; we play roles in the loves of the future. Bit parts, perhaps, not as important as Mary Elgin's; maybe we turn up again just as a fading photograph examined by some distant relative, or maybe more. Mary Elgin: she lives again as Patrick and I research her, and her life is changed by us. It isn't finished by her death. It remains in flux, reviewed, reinterpreted, revived, maybe redeemed.