Paris, 1968. Nicholas finds himself broke, without papers and on the verge of being deported back to England. Seeking to stay in France, Nicholas takes a three-month contract as an English tutor to the 17-year-old Imperial Highness Natalya. It is the perfect solution; free room and board, his wages saved, and a place to hide from police raids. All that is asked of Nicholas is to obey the lifestyle of the household and not to leave the grounds.
It should have solved all his problems…
“The most dangerous lies are the lies we tell ourselves…”
This was such a strange and unusual story that hooked me in from start till finish. Nicholas takes a job as an English tutor for a young woman named Natayla. The house has some odd rules – there’s no electricity, you’re not allowed to leave and everyone thinks the Russian war is still going on. Despite this Nicholas stays on, he’s desperate and the job is good, but as things take a darker turn, he’s not altogether sure he made the right choice.
I love an unreliable narrator and that’s exactly what Nicholas is. The story is framed with a doctor who sees Nicholas as a patient and he recounts his fantastic story. But what he saw, was it real? I was constantly questioning if what he saw was ghosts, a hallucination or in fact real. It keep me desperate to know more because I was never really sure what was real and what wasn’t.
The characters were similarly duplicitous, and everyone seemed to have an alternative motive. Nicholas was a really interesting protagonist, trying to understand what happened to him, and exactly why it did. The ending was a bit of a shock, and I would never have guessed the truth. There were also plenty of creepy, unsettling moments and I loved the setting of the big old house with long corridors and moving shadows.
If you love a story with plenty of twists and creepy moments, The Spaces in Between is a fantastic read and should definitely be on your to be read list. It also has a completely stunning cover!