Christine is looking for the real meaning of love. At three very distinct points in her life, she has very intense relationships that will help permanently shape her as a woman. In their own ways, each relationship reveals a different aspect to intimacy and companionship in addition to physical love within a relationship. One can only wonder what filled in the blanks for the rest of Christine's life.
What a lovely, lavish book this is. It did not even strike me until about half way through that the book was about lesbian relationships, because the focus is not so much on who Christine loved, but is instead on the simple fact that she does indeed love. It is not about the who, it is about the how. The book is achingly romantic in many ways, and very European. In fact, at many points I saw the book playing in my mind as a cool French film. And I loved every minute of it.
We are privy to the development of Christine as a character over many years. While we see this development in short bursts, we still learn all we need to know about Christine. As a woman, I found Christine to be a bit cloying, needy, and desperate, but I think that is the type of character that was necessary for this story to work. Christine could not be a perfect woman, that would have made for a very dull novel. No, I think Christine's intense vulnerability was necessary for each of the three relationships to work.
I personally left the book wanting to know more about Christine. The novel is not packed with a lot of action, or a fast moving plot. Its beauty is in its simplicity. I felt it sing to my heart, and in many ways I related to Christine, despite the fact that all my relationships have been with men.
I think this would be a good book to any reader who is open minded. The physical aspects of the relationships are not emphasized or graphic, and again the book is about love. I hesitate to label this as a gay/lesbian novel, because I think a whole lot of people might miss out on a great story. Try it, you may be quite surprised.
I received a review copy courtesy of the publisher.