A stunning debut novel that examines the price of loyalty, the burden of regret, the meaning of salvation, and the sacrifices we make for those we love, told in the voices of two unforgettable women linked by a decades-old family mystery at a picturesque lake house.
In 1935, six-year-old Emily Evans vanishes from her family's vacation home on a remote Minnesota lake. Her disappearance destroys the family - her father commits suicide, and her mother and two older sisters spend the rest of their lives at the lake house, keeping a decades-long vigil for the lost child.
Sixty years later, Lucy, the quiet and watchful middle sister, lives in the lake house alone. Before her death she writes the story of that devastating summer in a notebook that she leaves, along with the house, to the only person who might care: her grandniece, Justine.
For Justine the lake house offers freedom and stability - a way to escape her manipulative boyfriend and give her daughters the home she never had. But the long Minnesota winter is just beginning. The house is cold and dilapidated. The dark, silent lake is isolated and eerie. Her only neighbor is a strange old man who seems to know more about the summer of 1935 than he's telling.
Soon Justine's troubled oldest daughter becomes obsessed with Emily's disappearance, her mother arrives to steal her inheritance, and the man she left launches a dangerous plan to get her back. In a house haunted by the sorrows of the women who came before her, Justine must overcome their tragic legacy if she hopes to save herself and her children.
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Engaging story spanning three generations.
The Lost Girls by Heather Young is an engaging tale that spans nearly 80 years involving one Minnesota family and their remote lake house. It is told from the perspective of two women, one from Lucy, who is reflecting on her life as a preteen back in 1935, who watched her older sister "grow up" and lost her 6-year-old sister that summer. The other perspective from Lucy's grandniece, Justine, who just inherited the lake house at Lucy's death. Justine uses the lake house to escape her manipulative boyfriend in San Diego and attempts to give her daughters a home, despite the dilapidated state of the old place.
While the beginning of the story seemed to drag on, once the pace picked up I started to really care for the characters. You really got to understand how the lives of all the women in the family - for three generations - were deeply affected by the disappearance of Lucy's 6-year-old sister in 1935 (You don't find out what happened to her until the very end, which is why this book is so engaging.) I also really appreciated the slow maturation of Justine's character who was very mousey at the beginning, but by the end she has moxy and refused to do what her manipulative mother and boyfriend wanted her to do. While Justine made several mistakes, I loved her loyalty to her children and how she always tried to be a good mother, which was the opposite of her own mother.
I listened to the Audible version of this story narrated by Alice Rosengard and Laurel Schroeder. Alice portrayed Lucy as if she were reading what Lucy was writing into a notebook on her death bed about her memories of what happened that summer and the resulting consequences. You could hear the regret in Alice's voice, especially at the end with the big reveal. Laurel's narration on the other hand was more present day, as if things were happening right then. She differentiated between male and female voices and changed the tempo in the performance when warranted. I was totally engrossed into the story imagining different characters speaking. In conclusion, The Lost Girls is an excellent book that is superbly narrated!
The Lost Girls
This is an absolutely good novel about a group of families who leave the heat of the city for homes on the shores of a small lake every summer. The story is told in alternating chapters -- first the times spent at the lake, then two generations later in retrospect. Heather Young's debut novel is spine tingling and chilling, and a mystery only solved at the end of the book.