The Steady Running of the Hour
by Justin Go.
This is a book I added to my TBR pile because of Casee Marie’s fabulous Notable New Releases series (probably the biggest contributor to my ever-expanding TBR pile, by the by). It’s the story of Tristan, a modern-day 20-seomthing who learns he may be heir to a huge inheritance – if he can prove that he is in fact the descendent of the trustee. The problem being that the original trustee went missing back in the 1920’s and was never heard from again. So begins his quest through the archives and libraries of Europe to discover what exactly happened. His story is interspersed with the story of Ashley Walsingham – the English gent whose fortune he stands to inherit – and Imogen Soames-Andersson, the mysterious young woman he left his fortune to. What Tristan finds is an unusual love story that spans from WWI to the first Mt. Everest expeditions, through joy and fear and deceit and hope. The search itself changes Tristan, too, as he races against the trust’s expiration, burns through his savings hopping across Europe, and meets a girl who challenges his motives.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s the kind of book where the writing is… I don’t want to say slow, because I (usually) wasn’t bored. But you have to take your time with it. This wasn’t a book I just zipped through. And some reviewers on Goodreads claimed that there wasn’t a ‘real’ ending, but I have to disagree. Tristan does eventually find an answer, you simply have to pay attention to subtext and implication. It’s a satisfying ending, if not a traditionally happy one. The fact that Ashley was a WWI officer and a mountain climber add some unusual notes to the narrative, though the parts with him in the trenches were the few parts I found a bit slow. And Imogen herself is a puzzle of a character. I won’t say I liked her, but she was compelling. Overall, across both story lines, the book is about what drives us and what we choose as important in our lives. It’s well-written and a good read. If you’re a fan of historical fiction, mystery, and races against time, pick this one up.