"Heartbreaking and compelling…Richmond gracefully weaves in fascinating background material on the coffee culture and the field of mathematics as she thoughtfully explores family dynamics, the ripple effects of tragedy, and the importance of the stories we tell. Combine all that with perfect pacing and depth of insight, and you have a thoroughly riveting literary thriller.” Booklist, starred review
"Quietly captivating." Publishers Weekly
"An intelligent, emotionally convincing tale about a family tragedy and the process of storytelling.” Boston Globe
"Addictive." Denver Post
"This thoughtful, gripping page turner grabs the reader’s attention from the first chapter." Library Journal
In a remote village in Nicaragua, two Americans meet. Ellie is a coffee buyer, an inveterate traveler and incapable of trust. Peter is a ruined academic. And their meeting is not by chance. More than twenty years ago, Ellie’s sister Lila, a top math student at Stanford, was murdered in a case that was never solved. In the aftermath of Lila’s death, Ellie entrusted her most intimate feelings to a man who turned the story into a best-selling true crime book. In it, Peter was villified.
Now, as rain beats down on the steaming rooftops of the village, Peter leaves Ellie a gift of the notebook that Lila carried everywhere. Ellie will use the notebook, filled with mathematical equations, to begin a search that seems to have been waiting for her all these years. It will lead her to a centuries- old mathematical puzzle Lila was trying to solve, a lover no one knew she had, the motives and fate of the man who profited from her family’s anguish. Ellie makes a series of discoveries—from the eloquent truths of numbers to confessions of love, pain and loss. A novel about the stories and lies that strangers and lovers tell—and the secrets we keep from ourselves.