The Gilded Life Of Matilda Duplaine by Alex Brunkhorst was one of those books that I didn't expect to like - not that I thought that it would be unpleasant, just a little chick-flicky and boring. I couldn't have been more wrong - this was captivating and enticing from the very beginning; wherein we don't even meet the title character until a number of chapters in. In a book named after the elusive Matilda Duplaine, you would be forgiven for forgetting that she was to even play an integral role in this surprisingly complicated book, with it's delicate twists and turns.
We see our antagonist, Thomas, thrust unexpectedly into the world of the ultra rich and famous - and we see him struggle to adapt and fit in a world that he doesn't belong to, with no other choice as he leaves a mysterious past and an even more mysterious woman behind. Thomas is both a curiosity and an open book in the same breath - we know nearly everything about him as person through his meetings with various others and yet he is devoid of any details for us, and so as he faces his own mysteries of the people in the world around him, we come up against Thomas' own.
This book is charmingly written - the important story almost an afterthought interjected in between Thomas' own story and, although it shouldn't work, it really does. In the same way Thomas is left to decipher the world around him, and how Matilda fits into a life that she seems to barely exist within, we are also left to decipher Matilda as a character - as well as Thomas, the job that he left behind and the love of his life that seems to remain heavy in his heart even as his life develops and broadens in a way that we could never expected.
This book is anything but high paced - it's a softly written book, a book that could be a true narrative of the lives of the rich that we don't get to see, and above all it's bittersweet and endearing in all the right ways. There is something charmingly written about a book that doesn't always go the way that you want it to, and a book that doesn't always turn when you expect it to and - for a surprisingly straightforward book - there are a number of turns that you just don't see coming; even when you think that you might have the plot figured out, chances are there will be at least one plot twist that you just didn't see coming.
Overall, it's a book that I'd recommend - probably not one that you will continuously turn back to, but one that will take a solid place in your bookcase, one that you'll lend to your friends when they ask for a book to take on holiday.
Have you read The Gilded Life Of Matilda Duplaine?