Wednesday, July 3, 2013

THE LONGINGS OF WAYWARD GIRLS by Karen Brown

Combining elements of mystery and suspense with an exploration of the themes of friendship, mother-daughter relationships, marriage and infidelity, this book is the ultimate page-turner. From the back cover:

It’s an idyllic New England summer, and Sadie is a precocious only child on the edge of adolescence. It seems like July and August will pass lazily by, just as they have every year before. But one day, Sadie and her best friend play a seemingly harmless prank on a neighborhood girl. Soon after, that same little girl disappears from a backyard barbecue—and she is never seen again. Twenty years pass, and Sadie is still living in the same quiet suburb. She’s married to a good man, has two beautiful children, and seems to have put her past behind her. But when a boy from her old neighborhood returns to town, the nightmares of that summer will begin to resurface, and its unsolved mysteries will finally become clear.

While I didn't find Sadie as sympathetic as some heroines, I could certainly understand how she turned out the way she did. Growing up in an idyllic suburb of Connecticut, this daughter of a vain, alcoholic mother and an indifferent father is forced to practically raise herself. As the story weaves itself between past and present, the summers of 1974 and 1979 and then 2003, we begin to understand Sadie's grief, sorrows and longings. When her much-wanted infant is stillborn, she goes off the deep end and falls into the arms of Ray Filley, a shadowy character from her youth. As events unfold, it becomes more and more difficult to imagine a positive outcome for Sadie or her family. Which is why this book will keep you on the edge of your seat from its dramatic opening to its disturbing but ultimately satisfying conclusion! Five stars!

NOTE: I received a copy of this book for FREE in exchange for a written review. There was no expectation that this review be either positive or negative, and I was not given any financial compensation to read the book or write the review. This information is disclosed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 [...] Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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