One of the great things about returning to work has been the commute.
Not that I love spending 30 minutes on crowded public transportation each morning, but I do enjoy the quiet time to myself. Time where I can zone out, drink coffee, look at social media, listen to music, or my favorite: READ.
For months, the only subjects I read about were labor, delivery, and early childhood development. Though incredibly important, it definitely did not satisfy my book nerd yearnings for fiction... something I could completely lose myself in for no other reason than my own selfish enjoyment.
So I decided that when I went back to work, I was going to treat myself.
When I went to meet Baby Charlie in Boston two years ago, my dear friend Cailin thrust Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger into my hands, with assurances that I would absolutely love it. I tucked it into my carry on and proceeded to sleep for the entire flight home. Then I carefully put the book on my shelf for later.
When I borrow something from someone, it nags at me until I can properly return it, so this book has been beckoning me for quite some time. Therefore, my return to work was the perfect opportunity to dust it off and crack it open. I'm so glad I did!
This novel is about 20-year-old twin sisters with an intense attachment to each other. Their English aunt dies of cancer and leaves them her apartment in London, with the condition of the inheritance being that they live in the flat for one year before selling it, and that their parents never set foot in it. The girls' aunt is also their mother's twin. The twins relocate from the Chicago suburbs to the London flat, which borders an ancient cemetery. They become involved with their neighbors, as well as their aunt, because although she has died, she is not gone altogether.
I absolutely loved Niffenegger's first novel, The Time Traveler's Wife, so I had high expectations for this book. I was fascinated by the twins, and loved the complications of love, identity, and sibling rivalry. I also really enjoyed how the twins became entwined in the lives of their eccentric and incredibly interesting neighbors. However, this is essentially a ghost story in which the twins' aunt haunts the apartment and the girls, and I found that to be a bit far-fetched and silly. The story concludes with a twist at the end, which I frankly found to be disappointing, but that's just my humble opinion.
Overall though, this novel was a fun and quick read, and a great first choice for me post-maternity leave.
And now I can finally return it to its rightful owner!