Coincidence; J.W. Ironmonger
Harper - 2014
June 21, 1982, a very young little girl with flame red hair and a scar near her eye is found wandering a fairground late at night in Devon, England. How she got there is a mystery and no one has claimed her nor can any relatives be found. The little girl who says her name is Azalea tells authorities that her mommy was taking her to see her daddy on a boat.
When a woman’s body washes up on shore many months later, no one even suspects a connection to the little girl, who has since been adopted by teachers, Rebecca and Luke Folley. The Folleys take Azalea to Uganda where they will be teaching at a mission school for orphan children. Exactly ten years to the day, on June 21, 1992, a horrific incident occurs and Azalea is an orphan once again. An uprising in Uganda and an attack by rebels claims the life of her adoptive parents. Fortunately for her, at 13, she is adopted by two medical students and is taken back to England.
As an adult Azalea believes she is destined to experience more unfortunate events in her life, whether to bad luck or “coincidence”. Now living in London and teaching literature, the fateful ten-year date is soon approaching and Azalea wonders whether her life could soon be over. She meets Thomas Post, a fascinating man and a Philosophy professor who specializes in probability debunking the mystique behind “coincidence”. The way the two meet might even be considered by some as “coincidence”. Sensing her genuine fear, he begins spending more time with her trying to apply statistics and the use of logic to help to reassure her, but then, he himself begins to wonder if her fears just might be justified.
A fascinating story, a bit of a love story, it was also challenging at times. The story jumps back and forth in time. I loved the portion that takes place in Africa, and the way the author was able to balance the darkness with some lighter moments was amazing. The author also did a terrific job balancing theories and real life occurrences. I am happy I stuck with this novel, the characters are vivid and the writing is very good. It’s a story that will make you think about whether at least certain aspects of our lives are predetermined or do we control our destiny.