The author has taken many years to complete this book. She has used personal experiences and passions to compile a story that reflects many issues she has come to face. When she first arrived in London, people were amazed that she was half Czech. They were in awe of the art, architecture, literature and music produced by this country. Many extolled the beauty of Prague, and so Justine felt she had to see the place for herself. Her family were very welcoming, and she began to hear about the history of this place. This is interwoven through the novel and interesting to read.
Many other issues are important to the author and have been examined using the main character, Catherine. Female alcoholism is one issue looked at from her perspective. Cath is a concert pianist. She is extremely talented, but after a series of set backs in her life she needs alcohol more and more. Like the author, Catherine is half Czech, and goes to Prague to visit relatives. She is looking for stability and drinking is one way of finding that for a temporary fix.
Unfortunately, Catherine also is looking for love and has a habit of sleeping with many to search for the one. She is breaking up with her husband, has lost a recording deal, and searching for her terminally ill mother who has gone missing from hospital. Life is very confusing, and the pianist sinks further and further into alcohol dependence. She develops pneumonia and almost dies but is repatriated to London.
It is here that she has a chance for redemption. A caring Therapist helps her to heal herself, after she has spent a few weeks in a coma. He is sure she has experienced a childhood trauma and wants her to discover her childhood secrets so that she can move on from her compulsive behaviour. Gradually the pianist begins to recover but not before she remembers devastating scenes from her past.
The story is written in a compulsive style. It draws us into the painful life of this talented young woman and explores the notion of remote family members, and secrets hidden from children.