This is a tough book to review. I had different reactions at different times of the book and am unsure about how I should phrase my thoughts. To begin with, I must say that I would have loved the book a whole lot more if the timelines were a little more steady. We have Elise, our leading lady who has two parts of flashbacks. One as an undercover Federal agent in the US and another as growing up in families not completely hers (for one reason or the other). Then we have the present narrative, which is complicated in its own right. If it seems like these put me off, that would not be completely true. I liked the stories, the emotional content but I felt like I was being buffeted by the wind from one point to another, this unmoored effect did not help make sense of the trouble Elise found herself in.
The current timeline involves a con of sorts with Elise not sure of her role in it all. She is tasked with reporting on a woman named Maria Garcia, who is an enigmatic character. Her charm has people doing her bidding like hypnotised people. I have met a few people who can turn their charm on like that, so if they were in this line of ‘business’, I am sure they would have been equally successful. What I tired of were the repetitive mistaken lesbian relationships. The idea of someone misconstruing the relationship between any two of the women mentioned happened multiple times and with different characters, and it got a little weird. Following Mia has Elise travelling the world and making her own friends on the way. I loved her relationship with her sisters, especially the younger. There is, of course, the main validation that Elise craves from a mother figure and this defines her in many ways. Even the swearing, not being in English, was easy for me to ignore.
As mentioned earlier, I liked the writing and was pretty hooked to the story. If the two different flashbacks and the current timeline did not overlap so much, I could have read it in one sitting.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is solely based on my own reading experience.