I almost purchased Mr Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt at Barnes and Noble because they had a signed copy for sale and I had a discount coupon. I knew nothing about the book, except the small blurb on the inside of the cover. I decided against it and purchased a group of buy 2 get 1 free books.
The very next day, Bookriot, sent an email stating the ebook copy was only $2.99 at Amazon (as of the writing of this, it still is). I thought it was an omen, so I picked it up.
The premise sounded great! Two orphan children meet with a professional con man and one of the children talks to the dead. Sounds like a no brainer! This had to be read.
The funny thing is that I could understand if someone decided not to finish this book after starting it. That seems an odd thing to write in a review that will be positive.
The beginning of this book, while Ruth and Nat are in the orphanage is so bizarre that it could potentially turn people off. I write that because that is almost what happened to me. This is a quirky tale, but I am glad I stuck with it because once one falls into the writer's groove, it is such a fun book.
As written earlier, it is the story of Ruth, who has a scarred face, and Nat, who declare themselves sisters after Ruth's older sister El ages out of the orphanage. Ruth and Nat are inseparable and have a bond that can never be broken. Nat can talk to the dead, a skill he hones, when the two meet up with Mr Bell, a con man who helps them earn money using Nat's skill.
This is also a road trip story of Ruth and Cora, Ruth's pregnant niece, and takes place in the future in Ruth's timeline. Ruth cannot speak and comes to Cora in the middle of the night insisting that Cora must follow her. Cora has no idea where they are going and is also anxious because they are going to walk the whole trip.
The two narratives trade off alternatively chapter by chapter. The wonderful thing is the further into the book one goes, the closer the two narratives become. Hunt has a wonderful way of storytelling in that sense.
This is a book about relationships ultimately and what one would do for love. From Nat's ability and the desire for his rubes to believe what he is doing simply to be reassured their deceased is ok to the complex relationship of Ruth and Nat to sex without love attached in Cora's pregnancy. How far will one go for love?
As stated earlier, this will not be a book for everybody as it is very strange and simply weird, but by the end of the book it is worth the journey and the questions that accompany it. There are moments of danger in both tales, huge questions in both, and one is thrown off on purpose. The book itself is a con of sorts in that sense. One has to question what is real and what isn't. What is truth and what is a lie? If you can stick with it, the book keeps getting better. All in all, I rated it 3.5 stars simply because it took a bit to get into.
Here is the Amazon link- Mr Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt