Faithful Place by Tana French

Okay, so this book came up in our RBTW Book Club rotation, picked by someone other than me. This was hard for me, just because it was the 3rd book in the series, and I haven’t read the first two yet. My mind really struggles with doing things out of order. I bought the first two books, and my plan was to read them prior to reading this one, but while I probably could have gotten it done, a lot of things would have fallen to the wayside this month. With that being said, I never would have known that this was the third book in a series by the way it was written. It is written as a COMPLETE STANDALONE. So for those of you who are afraid to read this book, without reading the prior two, because you’re afraid the author is going to regurgitate much of the prior books without blending them together well, DO NOT FEAR.

Faithful Place is the name of the street that Francis Mackey grew up on. It’s the street he ran away from as soon as he was able to. Frank and Rose Daly planned to run away to England together since her parents did not approve of the Mackey family. The evening that Frank and Rosie were supposed to disappear, Frank found himself alone at the designated meeting spot. After waiting a few hours for Rosie to show up, he walks over to number 16 Faithful Place, four houses down from his own number 8, only to find a note that seems to indicate to Frank the Rose ran off without him. Frank, instead of returning home, or running after Rosie, ups and leaves without a backward glance or a spare word for his family.

This story starts when Frank is in his early 40s and he learns through the family grapevine that a suitcase was discovered in number 16 and that the Place (how he refers to the conglomeration of nosey-ass neighbors on his old street) believe the suitcase belongs to Rose Daly. This spurs Frank’s investigation in to what really happened the night Rose and he were all set to start their new life together.

One of my biggest struggles with this book was the authenticity of Frank’s character. I really loved the fact that he was super in love with Rose Daly. I’m not one of those people who thinks that men are incapable of feeling that way about a woman. What I did struggle with is the fact that (1) he didn’t even attempt to look for her when she stood him up; and (2), and this is a big spoiler here, see Goodreads for spoiler. Neither of those seemed like a genuine thing that Frank Mackey would do. Especially considering the fact that French builds up his undercover work as shady, below-the-table, and doing bad things to achieve a desired goal. This is what led to:

small-blank-flamesmall-blank-flamesmall-blank-flamewhomp, whomp, whomp….

3 Flames. I had such high hopes for this book after the stellar reviews of In the Woods. I did already buy both In The Woods and The Likeness so I’m still going to give those a read, my hopes just might not be as high.

Something that I always love pondering is the meaning of the title to the author. It’s just fascinating to me how many permutations you can come up with when you think about. Faithful Place is not just the name of the street, but it’s also the place that you remain loyal to no matter where life takes you (or so all of the residents but Frank believe). To the point where see Goodreads for spoiler or the point where Frank’s ma continued to stay and deal with the abuse of her husband year after year. It could also indicate the idea that Rosie was actually faithful to Frank and she waited for him despite all the years in between where he thought she had left him. It could answer the age old Mackey question “What are you willing to die for?” What do you guys think? Did you come up with any other permutations?

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