Title: The Year of Fog
Author: Michelle Richmond
Release Date: March 27, 2007
Publisher: Bantam Discovery
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5
From the publisher’s website:
In the seconds when Abby Mason—photographer, fiancée soon-to-be-stepmother—looks into her camera and commits her greatest error. Heartbreaking, uplifting, and beautifully told, here is the riveting tale of a family torn apart, of the search for the truth behind a child’s disappearance, and of one woman’s unwavering faith in the redemptive power of love—all made startlingly fresh through Michelle Richmond’s incandescent sensitivity and extraordinary insight.
Six-year-old Emma vanished into the thick San Francisco fog. Or into the heaving Pacific. Or somewhere just beyond: to a parking lot, a stranger’s van, or a road with traffic flashing by. Devastated by guilt, haunted by her fears about becoming a stepmother, Abby refuses to believe that Emma is dead. And so she searches for clues about what happened that morning—and cannot stop the flood of memories reaching from her own childhood to illuminate that irreversible moment on the beach.
I’ve been getting more and more into mysteries lately, especially those that are atmospheric and moody. There’s something about the way they draw you in and create an entire world within their pages. I recently read No One You Know by Michelle Richmond [review] and found it to be really amazing. I loved Richmond’s writing and couldn’t wait to read her previous book, The Year of Fog.
Once again, I found Richmond’s writing to be breathtaking. The writing style sets the entire tone of the novel – haunting and melancholy. Additionally, the prose is simply beautiful. The writing elevates The Year of Fog to an entirely different level, making it comparable to literary fiction novels rather than other mysteries. One thing is clear: this book would simply not be as compelling without Richmond’s unforgettable writing style.
I thought the plot of The Year of Fog was interesting, but it was almost more of a psychological study than a straightforward mystery. The book is about Emma on the surface, but underneath, it’s much more about what it does to Abby. It’s about the guilt, the anger, and the inability to return to normal life after Emma goes missing. Abby can’t even remember how to live, much less come to terms with Emma’s disappearance. Richmond really manages to get the reader into Abby’s head. It’s difficult to remember this is just a novel, or that Abby is just a character within it.
I was completely surprised by the ending of The Year of Fog in more than one way. I really appreciated that because I thought I had it all figured out. I can’t say for certain that I liked what happened, but it certainly was different.
The Year of Fog is a well-crafted novel that would be good for mystery lovers as well as those who enjoy books simply for beautiful writing. Though I enjoyed No One You Know [review] more, I would argue that The Year of Fog is actually a better constructed novel. It’s definitely well done, and I can’t wait to read more of Michelle Richmond’s books.