Title: You’ll Never Know, Dear by Hallie Ephron
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
An addictive novel of psychological suspense from the award-winning author of Night Night, Sleep Tight, about three generations of women haunted by a little girl’s disappearance, and the porcelain doll that may hold the key to the truth . . .
Seven-year-old Lissie Woodham and her four-year-old sister Janey were playing with their porcelain dolls in the front yard when an adorable puppy scampered by. Eager to pet the pretty dog, Lissie chased after the pup as it ran down the street. When she returned to the yard, Janey’s precious doll was gone . . . and so was Janey.
Forty years after Janey went missing, Lis—now a mother with a college-age daughter of her own—still blames herself for what happened. Every year on the anniversary of her sister’s disappearance, their mother, Miss Sorrel, places a classified ad in the local paper with a picture of the toy Janey had with her that day—a one-of-a-kind porcelain doll—offering a generous cash reward for its return. For years, there’s been no response. But this year, the doll came home.
It is the first clue in a decades-old mystery that is about to turn into something far more sinister—endangering Lis and the lives of her mother and daughter as well. Someone knows the truth about what happened all those years ago, and is desperate to keep it hidden.
You’ll Never Know, Dear by Hallie Ephron is a fast-paced and engrossing mystery that centers around the forty year disappearance of Janey Woodham.
Every year on the anniversary of her daughter’s disappearance, Miss Sorrel Woodham runs a newspaper ad offering a reward for the return of Janey’s porcelain doll which vanished along with the long missing girl. This year, a young woman brings a doll that Miss Sorrel is certain belongs to her daughter. However, Lis Strenger, who continues to feel guilty for her sister’s disappearance, is not as convinced. That same evening, an inexplicable explosion injures both women and when Lis’s daughter Vanessa returns to the family home, she is confused to discover Miss Sorrel’s prized doll collection has been stolen. Equally puzzling is next door neighbor and family friend Evelyn Dumont’s insistence that Miss Sorrel’s conviction the porcelain doll belongs to Janey is nothing more than wishful thinking. Lis and Vanessa decide to locate the young woman who delivered the doll but will they find the answers they are searching for?
Lis wants nothing more than to find out the truth about what happened to Janey, so she is impatient with the local police department’s lack of urgency in locating the woman who brought them the doll. With Vanessa’s help, they quickly uncover the identity and address of the person they are searching for. Their arrival at the Maggie Richards’ home is just the first of many surprises surrounding Maggie and her mom, Jenny.
Despite police assurance they are taking the situation seriously, Lis continues her own investigation. She is puzzled when information she uncovers is quickly contradicted by the police. Are her results wrong? Or is there a more sinister reason for the discrepancy? Lis cannot begin to guess who would want to interfere with the investigation but she refuses to stop searching for the truth about what happened to Janey. The discovery that another young girl connected to her mother’s porcelain doll business also disappeared years after Janey’s kidnapping is yet another shocking bit of news and Lis is determined to continue looking for the truth. How far will the perpetrator go to keep their long buried secrets from being uncovered?
You’ll Never Know, Dear is an intriguing mystery that fans of the genre will enjoy. The storyline is unusual and the creepy porcelain dolls are shudder inducing. While it is rather easy to guess the identity of the kidnapper, the motive for the crime remains elusive. Hallie Ephron brings this suspense-laden mystery to an action-filled, satisfying conclusion.