Disclaimer: I received a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.
The Space Between is the newest novel by Dete Meserve, author of Good Sam. Good Sam received ample awards and praise, including the 2015 National Indie Excellence Award and the Readers’ Favourite Gold Medal Award (Women’s Fiction). Although I have not read her previous novel, I am sure that fans of Meserve’s work will be looking forward to the publication of this newest title.
The Space Between follows astronomer Sarah Mayfield as she returns home following an important presentation at NASA to find her husband, Ben, missing. In his place are a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, a gun, one million dollars and an erased security camera system. Sarah and her husband seem to have it all; a stable relationship (although distanced due to their work), a teenage son, a beautiful home, nice cars, and some close friends.
But alongside their comfortable life, Ben is battling a lawsuit against his previous restaurant partners while attempting to open a new restaurant. His heart set on a restaurant in NYC, Ben has been spending more time settling a deal with the owner, Rebecca Stanton. When Rebecca is found murdered in her apartment, the reasons for Ben’s disappearance come under more scrutiny. The legal battle, fight for restaurant ownership, and conversations between Sarah and Ben regarding a potential divorce, create a large pool of suspects. Is it voluntary, retaliation, murder, or kidnapping?
Sarah is a refreshing take on the woman left behind. A scientist, she shouldn’t be easily fooled, nor take risks that less other characters might. There were questionable moments, but the difference is that Sarah acknowledges these. She mentions when her emotional mind is ruling over her scientific and logical one. Sarah’s status as a smart woman with a feminine appearance also has an influence on those who orbit her after Ben’s disappearance. As Sarah says, “He can’t imagine that I was the one making the NASA presentation or that I’m the person directing the work of the three-hundred-fifty-million-dollar space telescope”.
While many are wary of Sarah’s involvement, including the police and media, one reporter treats her with compassion. Many crime books feature female reporters as cut-throat, they tear down attack the women with a connection to a crime. Kate Bradley was more complex, seeming to genuinely care about Sarah while maintaining professionalism.
The characters are believable, easily imagined by the reader. But where Meserve really shines is in the setting. Meserve’s captivating descriptions of the starry night sky illuminate scenes throughout the novel. Her knowledge of astronomy is impressive, woven tightly through the narrative in both characters and allegory. The novel’s acknowledgements gives us a peak at how Meserve’s appreciation for the stars abetted in the creation of The Space Between.
“In the universe, as in love, so many of our most important discoveries are made when we look past what seems to be true, when we find ways around our blind spots, and when we discover new ways to see through the darkness into the light.”
– Dete Meserve
The space between is a fantastic concept, and one that the reader becomes familiar with throughout the book. Unfortunately, I was pulled from the narrative at heavy-handed moments where the premise was explicitly stated. I realised what had transpired in Ben’s disappearance quickly, which may explain why I found the statements so jarring. Knowing what had happened did not detract from my reading experience otherwise, and the journey to the end of the book was still very enjoyable.
The mystery, suspense, and beauty of the desert sky make for a compelling and stunning read. Meserve’s passion for astronomy and discovering the overlooked permeate the novel. It’s a stark and timely reminder for us all to look past our initial impressions, past the obvious answers, and past the words that people tell us to what really exists in the space between.
Why Read This Book?
- Female author
- Intriguing plot
- Strong female characters
- Beautiful settings
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The Space Between
The Space Between follows astronomer Sarah Mayfield as she returns home following an important presentation at NASA to find her husband, Ben, missing. In his place are a beautifully decorated ...