I nearly quit reading this book several times. Mysterious books are one thing, but there was too much in this that was just plain impossible to follow, until the end. The women characters are "strong," but manipulative. The men are weak. I kept going because I wanted to know what Carl wanted to know. When I got there, I realized I should have been able to figure it out for myself. There are reasons for dysfunctional families, but as another reviewer pointed out, they "why" was never clear in this one. The writing itself is promising, for a first novel, so I might try one of her later ones.