Desire Lines by Felicity Volk. (2020).
**3 out of 5 stars**
Arctic Circle, 2012. Landscape architect Evie finds herself exhuming the past as she buries Australian seeds in a frozen mountain vault. Molong, 1953. 7 year old Paddy has been shipped from London institutional care to an Australian farm school, his world has fragile truths and painful memories. Meanwhile in Canberra young Evie is safe in her family’s embrace but soon learns there are some paths you can’t turn back from. Blue Mountains, 1962. Paddy and Evie meet and grow a compulsive and unconventional love that takes them in directions neither could have foreseen.
At 435 pages, I would classify this as a big book. We start in 2012 before jumping back to 1952, and then we jump forward in time ranging between roughly 2 to 10 years before hitting 2012 at the end again. The book explores Paddy and Evie’s lives, both when they are separate and together. While I had a lot of sympathy for child Paddy, I didn’t really like adult Paddy to be honest. I felt he was a weak man, who while he clearly loved Evie he was happy for her to sacrifice so much to be with him whereas he wasn’t willing to make those same sacrifices. And while Evie eventually made her stand, I thought she let him get away with it for a really long time. I guess for me never having been in situations like that, I found it quite hard to relate to their relationship when they were adults. I think a lot of important issues were explored throughout this novel, including some that may be triggering for some readers.
Overall: an exploration of an unconventional love between two people who had a lot of emotional baggage related to other relationships and historical events. I think some readers would find this a beautiful read, for me personally it was an average read.