Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"Georgia, Charlie and Alice each arrive at Harvard with hopeful visions of what the future will hold. But when, just before graduation, a classmate is found murdered on campus, they find themselves facing a cruel and unanticipated new reality. Moreover, a charismatic professor who has loomed large in their lives is suspected of the crime. Though his guilt or innocence remains uncertain, the unsettling questions raised by the case force the three friends to take a deeper look at their tangled relationship. Their bond has been defined by the secrets they’ve kept from one another—Charlie’s love and Alice’s envy, Georgia’s mysterious affair—and over the course of the next decade, as they grapple with the challenges of adulthood and witness the unraveling of a teacher's once-charmed life, they must reckon with their own deceits and shortcomings, each desperately in search of answers and the chance to be forgiven."
I received an ARC of Bradstreet Gate for review (hey, look at that! I'm reading something recently published, for once!).
Bradstreet Gate is the story of three people, transitioning into adulthood and dealing with disappointed expectations and the resonance of a tragedy that affects their life in unforeseen ways. There's a murder, but the focus of the tale is definitely more on the "coming into adulthood" fiction side than on the mystery.
Given that, I found it well-written and engaging, with fully realized characters who represented very realistic foibles. Charlie was my favorite, mostly because even though he's perpetually stuck, he's a generous and hopeful guy (whose morality slips now and then). Alice and Georgia I both loved and hated (for their blithe destruction of others and self, through impulsive selfishness and manipulation). But they all felt very real.
The author did an excellent job of playing the murder mystery close to her chest. There was much more devoted to the aftereffects, even a decade later, or the murder than any investigation into who committed it.
And that brings me to my own issue with the book: the ending.
Specifically, the complete and utter lack of resolution regarding the murder.
It was very realistic, in that there was no closure for anyone. But I felt like it would have really hit the sweet spot to confirm the identity of the killer, even just a little bit. Or the motive. Or something.
I was left wanting more in that vein, even though I was satisfied with the ending of the main characters (which was also very open-ended, but on a healing note).
If you read Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl and threw the book across the room after the last page, this book may frustrate you. Otherwise, I recommend it for fans of fiction that explore the reality of grief, metaphorically groping your way into adulthood, and the lives of damaged but relatable people. Also those who like contemporary, realistic portrayals of people, character-driven stories and being kept guessing about the true nature of secondary characters.
*I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books for free, in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
Labels: book review, bradstreet gate, college, contemporary, ensemble, human nature, murder, mystery, robin kirman