The Map of Us by Jules Preston
A story of love and lost directions
Violet North is wonderfully inconvenient. Abandoned by her family and lost in an imagined world of moors and adventure, her life changes in the space of just 37 words exchanged with a stranger at her front door.
Decades later, Daniel Bearing has inherited his father's multi-million pound business, and is utterly lost. He has no idea who he is or where his life is headed.
When Violet’s granddaughter’s marriage falls apart, Tilly, always adept with numbers, compiles a detailed statistical report to pinpoint why. But the Compatibility Index Tilly creates has unforeseen consequences for everyone in her world. Tilly and Daniel share a secret too. Soon, a complex web of secrets and lies is exposed and an adventure begins with a blue typewriter.
Odd, strange, compelling, captivating - I'm really not sure how to describe this quirky read.
I thought there were a number of things that should have worked against the story - the sameness of all the characters' internal voices, the layout, the dipping in and out of time frames (though no single one of these on its own would necessarily cause issues) - but they made not a scrap of difference to my enjoyment.
The novel begins with Violet and the first chapter sucked me straight in. The new few almost spat me back out again. I nearly gave up but, as a last resort and something I almost never do, I read some reviews. They were enough to convince me to keep going.
I was very, very glad I did.