Persephone Triebold has grown up in the strange desolation of the Scottish Highlands, raised by her anxious father and memories of her dead mother. Inexperienced in the rules of friendship, sex and love, Persephone takes the opportunity to replace uninhabited mountain ranges with city life and leaves to study for a degree in London.
Parties, new friends and the polluted splendour of the capital intoxicate Persephone at first, but fail to supply her with the grand passion she wants. It's only when she meets the literary star Leo Ford, a former singer who has become a celebrated writer, that she finds someone she can love. Though Persephone succeeds in entering Leo's circle of friends she finds him to be as elusive as he is sought after. And she becomes increasingly curious about the incident in his past of which no one ever speaks...
One of the great things about being a book blogger is receiving review copies from publishers for books you probably would not have known about otherwise or would not have picked up in a shop yourself. ‘The Outline of Love’ is one of those books. Thanks to the lovely people at Headline (thank you, Veronique!) I received a review copy of this novel in my mailbox, and at first I wasn’t entirely sure whether this would be a book for me. I really like the front cover, especially the pretty silhouette of London in the background, but I wasn’t too sure about the description. However, it’s important to step out of your comfort zone every now and again, especially when it comes to reading, so I decided to give it a go.
At the centre of ‘The Outline of Love’ we have PersephoneTriebold, who has been raised by her father in the desolate Scottish Highlands. Persephone can’t wait to get out of the mountains and start a new life in the exciting city of London, where she will go to study for her Management degree. As soon as Persephone arrives in London, she quickly finds herself living the typical student life: annoying roommates, new BFF’s, parties, boys... But somehow, Persephone is missing something. Something she had already been missing in Scotland and had hoped to find in a place like London. Then she meets Leo Ford, former lead singer of a famous band and now a renowned author, and Persephone finds herself completely captivated by him. Everything in her life starts to revolve around Leo and how she can possibly secure a place in his circle of friends, or perhaps even more... However, Leo is not your average man and it doesn’t take long before Persephone finds herself lost in his mystery and secrets.
There were definitely some elements in this novel that spoke to me. I liked the setting: the contrast between the rural Scottish Highlands where Persephone grew up, and her longing for a life in a city like London. I have also always had a weakness for Greek and Roman myths, so I really liked the idea of retelling the myth of Persephone and Demeter and using it as a parallel storyline. However, I didn’t find myself warming to Persephone, no matter how hard I tried. She seemed a bit empty; I was expecting strong emotions, but instead it felt like she constantly remained on the surface. Because of this, I found myself losing more and more interest after each page. At the end, some events managed to grab me, but once again I was disappointed by the way Persephone dealt with it all.
Morgan McCarthy’s writing is one of a kind; thoughtful, detailed, and not like anything else I have read before. Her descriptions of the setting are incredibly realistic and I could easily imagine myself sitting in Persephone’s house in London, or in the middle of the Scottish Highlands. It certainly does not seem like this is only her second novel. Though there was a nice plot, a good basis to start with, I did not enjoy this novel as much as I hoped I would because I felt it lacked emotion and it didn’t manage to grab me. I’ve read some amazing reviews of Morgan McCarthy’s first novel, ‘The Other Half of Me’, and from those reviews it already became quite clear: you either love McCarthy’s style or you don’t. ‘The Outline of Love’ is a thoughtful and well-written novel, which might capture the interest of other readers, but unfortunately not mine.