Title: Where I Lost Her by T. Greenwood
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Literary Fiction
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
In her page-turning new novel, T. Greenwood follows one woman’s journey through heartbreak and loss to courage and resolve, as she searches for the truth about a missing child.
Eight years ago, Tess and Jake were considered a power couple of the New York publishing world–happy, in love, planning a family. Failed fertility treatments and a heartbreaking attempt at adoption have fractured their marriage and left Tess edgy and adrift. A visit to friends in rural Vermont throws Tess’s world into further chaos when she sees a young, half-dressed child in the middle of the road, who then runs into the woods like a frightened deer.
The entire town begins searching for the little girl. But there are no sightings, no other witnesses, no reports of missing children. As local police and Jake point out, Tess’s imagination has played her false before. And yet Tess is compelled to keep looking, not only to save the little girl she can’t forget but to salvage her broken heart as well.
Blending her trademark lyrical prose with a superbly crafted and suspenseful narrative, Where I Lost Her is a gripping, haunting novel from a remarkable storyteller.
With a possibly unreliable narrator, Where I Lost Her by T. Greenwood is an intriguing mystery that keeps readers on the edge of their seats as Tess Waters tries to locate a missing young girl.
Tess and her husband Jake are visiting friends in rural Vermont when, returning from a late night run to the store, she sees a young girl in the middle of the road. Although the police are little slow to respond to her emergency call, they put together an extensive search that slowly tapers off within a few days. Convinced Tess is either mistaken or outright lying, the local police remain unreceptive to her pleas to continue looking for the missing girl. When the cops threaten to charge her for filing a false report, she hires attorney Ryan Hughes, who pleads with her to stay out of the case. Unable to stop worrying about the little girl, she continues her search and although she does not locate her, Tess stumbles onto evidence that supports her claim but will the police reopen their investigation?
Tess’s marriage never quite recovered from the couple’s infertility treatments and a botched adoption attempt eight years earlier. Their relationship is quite strained during their visit with their friends and Tess’s excessive drinking exacerbates the tension between them. At first supportive of Tess, Jake’s doubts continue to grow especially considering what happened after their adoption attempt went horribly wrong. The fact that she had been drinking the evening she spotted the young girl is another strike against her and Jake eventually returns to New York without her.
Tess’s main priority is continuing her efforts to find the missing girl but she is also quite reflective as she tries to decide what to do about her troubled marriage. Her longtime friend Effie not only believes Tess saw the little girl, but after Tess confides recently discovered information about Jake, she is outraged on Tess’s behalf. Despite Effie’s fears for her safety, Tess continues taking unnecessary risks as she makes impulsive decisions that are dangerous and oftentimes, foolhardy.
The events from eight years earlier are slowly revealed through a series of flashbacks. What begins as a happy occasion becomes emotionally charged after Jake joins Tess in Guatemala where she has been spending time with the little girl they are planning to adopt. These flashbacks slowly reveal the cracks in their marriage as Tess begins to realize that she was much more invested in having children than Jake and she starts wondering what other important information she might have overlooked about her husband. She remains ambivalent about their marriage for a good portion of the novel, but a family emergency puts things in perspective for her and Tess finally arrives at a decision about her future.
With a unique twist on the unreliable narrator plot device, Where I Lost Her is a well-written and engaging novel that is initially a little slow paced. The characters are three-dimensional with true to life flaws and imperfections. The storyline is wonderfully developed and the suspense builds as Tess continues trying to piece together the puzzling clues she uncovers. Overall, it is a very clever mystery/psychological thriller that old and new fans of T. Greenwood are sure to enjoy.