Brought to you by OBS reviewer Marianthi
Tess Spencer is a woman with a lot on her plate. She is newly married, unexpectedly pregnant, recently graduated and trying to pay off not only her loans, but her husband’s, while living on her in-law’s property. Tess is a puzzling woman. Though a drug dealing mother incarcerated in prison and an absent father has made her physically strong and confident about taking care of herself, her emotional state and her relationship with God are less stable.
Tess has few friendships outside of her new family. The one friend she does have, Miranda is a wheelchair bound, wealthy, older widow that stepped into the space vacated by Tess’s mother. Miranda tells Tess that she is starting to date a man that she knew over 40 years ago. Tess comes to meet Paul, and well, she isn’t impressed. In fact, she does not like him at all. Tess becomes even more concerned when an anonymous letter arrives at Miranda’s warning her away from Paul. The letter appears to be written by Paul’s wife, the woman who committed suicide 40 years earlier. Tess feels she owes it to Miranda to uncover the truth about what happened 40 years earlier.
This novel has both strong and weak areas. The strongest area is in the unwinding of the mystery. It is slowly unraveled by switching from diary entries from 40 years ago and Tess’s thoughts in the present time. The dialogue isn’t difficult to follow and it is refreshing that the author does not supply over graphic details about murder or sex. It is nice that some items are left to the reader’s imagination.
Though well thought out, the plot lags and seem to be waded down in extraneous details in certain spots while other details seem to be completely skipped over. It is difficult to understand the heroine because her life prior to her marriage is very vague. You know very little about Tess and it is frustrating. Another area that suffers is the introduction of too many secondary characters that serve only a red herring purpose. The college stalker, Miranda’s daughter, the waitress, the man spying on her at the assisted living home, the doctor, and the list goes on and on. Though some of these characters are needed in the plot, a lot of them are just not.
If you are not a patient person, then I do not recommend this for you. If you are a person that reads the end first to see if you like the book, then this book is not for you. This book almost demands that you sit and think. It is not a book that you can read for a few days then stop and come back. You will get momentarily lost until you remember your place. For all these reasons, I give this a solid three out of five stars for an adult mystery that is more psychological than graphic.