This is another Christmas gift from my Bigger Half, because he, correctly, assumed that I’d like the first one The Gilded Cage and would immediately like to jump to the second part of the story of Faye Adelheim.
Without going into too much detail, in case you haven’t read the first part, Faye got her revenge. Her company is thriving, she lives a happy life far away from Stockholm, and everything seems to be fine. That is until she realizes her company is being attacked, just as she prepares to expand into the US market. She comes back to Stockholm, and while fighting for the future of her company and the safety of everyone close to her she also finds, unexpectedly, a new love.
Given all the complications in Faye’s life she hesitates about the relationship, but being alone in the fortress she built around her she also wants to let someone in. As the current story unravels we also find out a lot more details about Faye’s past, as the current and past chapters are interchanging. And this is where the boundaries of the reader’s belief are stretched a bit, as Faye has been subjected to such an amount of violence in her childhood that it is hard to imagine, she would not break under the pressure. Instead, she comes back fighting, which is great to read about, but harder to believe.
For me as much as the topic of the previous book was women regaining power and breaking out of the victimhood cycle, this book is about a very different thing. Aside from the criminal plot, of course. Here the question is how far can we take revenge? And is the border different for men and women? What is justifiable and what crosses the line in defending oneself and one’s livelihood?
As we float with Faye through the world of the Stockholm upper class the question may sometimes be asked in a bit heavy-handed way, but that does not mean it’s not worth considering. Does our gender changes what we are allowed concerning revenge? And how do our class and financial status impact it? Because this is a book about a very specific group of people. Faye and her environment are not typical, their experiences are not universal. And I do realize I’m asking a lot from a crime book here, but those questions did pop into my head while reading this book, despite its action-packed plot.
It may not be an instant classic, but it is a gripping and good read. With some thought-provoking aspects to it. All in all a good entertainment, whether you decide to take it at face value or dig a bit deeper.
Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska