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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Bookseller comes a gripping literary suspense novel set in the 1960s about a deeply troubled family and three women who will reveal its dark truths.
In the autumn of 1960, Angie Glass is living an idyllic life in her Wisconsin hometown. At 21, she's married to charming, handsome Paul, and has just given birth to a baby boy. But one phone call changes her life forever.
When Paul's niece, Ruby, reports that her father, Henry, has committed suicide, and that her mother, Silja, is missing, Angie and Paul drop everything and fly to the small upstate town of Stonekill, New York to be by Ruby's side.
Angie thinks they're coming to the rescue of Paul's grief-stricken young niece, but Ruby is a composed and enigmatic 17-year-old who resists Angie's attempts to nurture her. As Angie learns more about the complicated Glass family, staying in Henry and Silja's eerie and ultra-modern house on the edge of the woods, she begins to question the very fabric of her own marriage.
Through Silja's flashbacks, Angie's discovery of astonishing truths, and Ruby's strategic dissection of her parents' state of affairs, a story of love, secrets, and ultimate betrayal is revealed.
©2018 Cynthia Swanson (P)2018 Simon & Schuster
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By NMwritergal on 02-07-18

Worse than a sophmore slump

Frankly, I suspect this is not actually the sophomore slump, but that this is the author's first novel, which was shoved in a drawer (and rightly so), but dusted off and called her second novel.

This is billed as "literary suspense," which implies good writing and, well, suspense. Nope, none of either. It starts off badly from the first paragraph, which was so badly written I actually stopped what I was doing and stared at my iPod thinking, did I really just hear that? As the story begins, Swanson relies on using as many adverbs as possible and (as my friend calls it) "GPS," moving your character around as creatively as the robotic woman on the GPS app.

Overall: lousy description, poor word choices ("She couldn't believe she had a 'female'" instead of "She couldn't believe she had a baby girl."), trite (and badly written) dialogue ("First, kiss me. Tell me you love me."), and description ("twinkling chocolate brown eyes"—used 3 times in 1 chapter, I think) and so on. Add to that, this woman should not be allowed to write sex scenes, however brief. So cringe worthy. Lots of telling vs. showing (yeah, those pesky adverbs among other rookie…mistakes that seasoned writers tend not to make).

The structure was distracting: Angie is 3rd person past tense (god-awful audio narrator who sounds like a sort of sing-songy robot), Ruby 1st person present tense (Ok audio narrator), and Silja 3rd person past tense (good audio narrator).

Usually with 3 POVs, there's at least one you like. Not so in this case. Angie was boring beyond belief (she enjoys housekeeping: oh that lemon scent! How satisfying to clean the bathroom twice a week), but Ruby and Silja weren't much better. There was nothing very compelling or original about any of them. And the two Glass husbands? Horrible men, albeit about as uninteresting as the rest of them.

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8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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