John Fowles has created something spectacular with this novel, the words flow to beautifully on the page despite the topics explored in the novel being anything but beautiful.

Maybe this is a romance, a disjointed idea of love is definitely held by Frederick and a more traditional idea of love held by Miranda. Maybe this is a horror, maybe it’s a tragedy, maybe it’s a drama or maybe it’s all four wrapped together. Four genres that work so perfectly together in this novel that makes you really question the way some people think.

Frederick is a clerk in the city hall and Miranda is an art student. Frederick claims to be in love with Miranda when she is oblivious to his existence. He is obsessed with her, so obsessed that when he wins a large sum of money he buys a house perfect to hold her in.

Maybe his desires are due to his upbringing, Frederick was an orphan with a dead Father and an alcoholic Mother – he was severely lonely, desperate for company. Or maybe his obsession is due to society, society telling him that his gender allows him to have what he wants, if he has feelings of love towards Miranda he can have her. Maybe he just has a warped idea of love.

The character of Frederick is written so subtly that it’s frightening, you feel wary of the character. Things he considers to be so normal are anything but normal, his idea of love and the way he is treating Miranda are all so wrong. He loves Miranda yet he holds her captive without freedom.

The first part of the novel is told in Frederick’s point of view; his planning of the kidnap and the way everything is so perfectly arranged. The boarders on the windows and the bolts on the doors. It makes you so wary of his character but so intrigued. Why is he like this? What does he really want from Miranda? Questions that I never feel are fully answered. I feel that towards the end of this section the novel lost pace slightly but I’m so glad I stuck with it. It just seemed to slow slightly but maybe it was an extended metaphor for how the time was dragging for both Frederick and Miranda; I don’t think having Miranda in the house was everything Frederick thought it would be.

The second part of the novel is told through Miranda’s diary, the diary that I truly believe kept her sane. The novel really picks up again during this section and perhaps shows the intensity of feelings felt by both parties. It explores her feelings towards the kidnap and frequent stories about G.P – I think he was her escape and her sanity, or as close as she could get.

The writing towards the end of the second part is some of the best I have ever read; the deep thoughts of Miranda really made me think as a reader. It was so deep and intense yet so true, her time locked away from the outside world made her evaluate a lot about the world she was living in. Her diary becomes more disjointed and hard to follow, the perfect metaphor for her mental and physical state.

Although this novel was slow in places, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was intense and shocking, the characters will stay with me for a long time. The ending really got me, I feel that the whole novel was building up to the damage that would be imposed. The damage Frederick’s love caused.