Untold Story: A Novel – Could have been left “Untold”

Untold StoryUntold Story by Monica Ali

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

We are all aware that there are conspiracy theories about Princess Diana. Some say that she did not die in the Paris crash. Others, that the crash was not just an accident, but murder.  What I had hoped for this book was a tie into those theories and not some random, non-sensical events with a brief flourish of excitement at the end. It was a good idea for a book, but I am sorry to say that this novel falls short on plot and character development and was a real disappointment.

BTW – This review contains SPOILERS.  ALERT!

The author creates a new life for Diana as Lydia, a boring and somewhat tormented lady living in middle america. She fakes her own death with the help of her assistant who then, for some reason, turns around and writes his memoir after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.

I kept hoping the book would get better, or at least, answer questions about the authors choices. For example, why Kensignton? (This is the city where Lydia settles.) Is it simply a coincidence or some weird literary pun? And what her about her trusted confidant writing his memoir right after she disappears? What happens to it? Does it get published? Does he finish it? Does he die?  And what happens to her?  Does she ever get to see her kids?  Does the photographer surface after he gets picked up?

While the ending is muddled and clumsy and I left feeling that the author really did not have an ending really thought-out, at least it was faster than the snail’s pace of the rest of the book.

There is still the possibility of someone writing a really terrific book about what might have happened to Diana, but this just is not it.

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