Friday 20 July 2012

The Shifting Fog - Kate Morton


Setting: England, 1924 and 1999.

Grace Bradley, 98, must revisit her teen years as lady-in-waiting to Hannah Hartford. More specifically, her memories recall those moments before the tragedy that turns sisters Hannah and Emmeline from each other. Grace realises she must rid herself from the memories that she has tried to ignore and so, begins to record these events for her grandson Marcus.


The fact that The Shifting Fog was set in a war period lost some of its appeal. That was before the end of the novel. By then, Grace's loyalties, Hannah's modern views and Emmeline's wild ways had me right in their palm.

Morton's ability to produce a captivating novel must be applauded. While the plot was creative and at times surprising, it was the characters that made the novel. Each of the characters had certain elements that made them real. Real and relatable. The setting didn't stop the fact that Hannah desired adventure, much like some of us. Or that Emmeline was a hopeless romantic. Even Grace, at her old age, could really touch a chord of sympathy from me. Her stories gave smiles and heartache, from the past and in the present.

At some point the novel is predictable and at others, a little dull. Fair enough, a novel of 400+ pages is bound to be. Yet, the ending - the answer to the tragedy - is worth the wait. Morton flows through the events without ever giving away the ending. There is no knowing what really happened and that is the satisfaction that comes out from reading The Shifting Fog. A novel of mystery, romance and a chilling twist - The Shifting Fog is an enjoyable read, worth the time.

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