Audie Award Nominee, Mystery, 2013
Perennial New York Times and national best-selling author and acclaimed, multiple prizewinner Laura Lippman delivers a brilliant novel about a woman with a secret life who is forced to make desperate choices to save her son and herself.
Heloise considers it a blessing to be a person who seldom attracts attention. In her suburb, she's just a mom, the young widow with the forgettable job, who somehow never misses a soccer game. In the state capital, she's the redheaded lobbyist with a good cause and a mediocre track record. But in discreet hotel rooms throughout the area, she's the woman of your dreams - if you can afford the hourly fee.
For more than a decade, Heloise believed she was safe, managing to keep up this rigidly compartmentalized life. But her secret life is under siege. One county over, another so-called suburban madam has been found dead in her car, an apparent suicide. As 40 looms and her son enters adolescence, Heloise is facing a midlife crisis with much higher stakes than most will ever know. With no formal education, no real family or friends, Heloise has to remake her life - again. Disappearing will be the easy part. The trick is living long enough to start a new life.
©2012 Laura Lippman (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers
I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater.
This is the first Laura Lippman book I tried to read. I purchased it when it first came out, got about 1/3 of the way through and had to stop. I simply could not muster any empathy or sympathy for Heloise/Helen. At that point in the book I had yet to run across a single character that was likable.
The book put me off enough, I decided not to try the Tess Monaghan series, which I'd intended to begin.
Two years later I finally started the Tess Monaghan books and have read all of them published to date and liked or loved all of them. So I decided to give this book another try.
I started over and finally made it through the book. There were plot lines and twists I found interesting, but not fascinating. I also found the story beyond unbelievable. And the characters remained as unlikeable to me as they were originally. There was also no humor. But Lippman's writing skills shown through. She delivered a very tight, well written story, even if I didn't care for the plot that much. If you are a Lippman fan you should read this book. If you think you might want to become a Lippman fan, don't start with this book. If you do not care for her other books, I doubt if you will like this one.
Emond does a very good job with the narration.
Avid listener of mysteries, thrillers, a little sci fi. Also enjoy self improvement titles. Mom, wife, Social Media Coordinator for biz.
I have listened to every Laura Lippman book on Audible. Truly, her writing and her characters are so very realistic. Add to that Linda Emond's totally perfect narration and it is a winning combination every time. I think the main character has a fascinating story to tell. I loved that a minor character from many other Lippman books makes a "cameo" appearance in this one.
The only thing I want is for Laura Lippman to write faster. I can never get enough!
I probably missed the finer points at the end of this book. I listened to only the first few minutes and the last few minutes of the last 1/3 of the book. It became tiresome. I hate plot lines that only work if you accept the central stupidity of the main character; particularly when that character is painted as a sharp business woman. It is a shame because this author is capable of better.
Retired and retiring old Oirisher/Brit who has now escaped first to Atlanta, now living in Bourbon country in Kentucky.
This was a strange tale. It started out a bit of a feminist rant, which was going to get boring even if true. I don't come to Audible to be morally improved, but entertained. It failed almost utterly to entertain me, apart from the final encounter, which was diverting for a few moments.
The rest is pretty sordid, as references to prostitution, "the life," tend to be. It is a nasty, brutal, usually short life. Men are pigs, yes they are.
The book was factually incorrect in that it plays out that there is a lot of money to be made in prostitution. There is, but nowhere near the figures that Heloise seems able to extract from it. The working girls almost _never_ earn what they work.
Weirdly enough, hearing Linda Emond's wonderful narration use the few cuss words within the text rather sounded like effluvium in a cathedral. Even Emond's talent could not bring the tale to life for me.
While I agree with the conclusions that Lippman makes overall in the book, and her post book notes, the book wasn't worth the time it took to listen to it.
I know some will be disappointed in that review, especially Lippman fans, but it was a 2, no more.
A middle of the road story--interesting enough to listen to, but the main character was kind of too remote and unfeeling, so it made it difficult to feel invested in whether or not she was discovered to be a madame or would live through the end. It was also uneven in that, she was supposed to be so smart, yet kept getting caught up in these compromising positions with men who overpower her. She may come out of it on her own in the end, but it's more of another circumstance she found herself in than one she created for herself.
The overarching storyline of her escort business and how she ran it, felt modern and was a little different than other books of this genre. I think that I would have felt more for her if she was married or seeking relationships outside of her business and her son. Though her son was supposed to be the central focus on her life, I didn't feel it in the writing. It was more just something that she said.
The narrator was a little weird--kind of stiff and definitely contributed to the remoteness that you feel about the character. She also made men sound....dumb...?
It wasn't so bad that I want my credit back....just wouldn't recommend to others.
I liked this book, but at times it was a little sad - as I realized that this probably someone's real story. Well written.
Life long fan of the mystery story. I like books where something actually happens, so history and biography are favorites of mine also. I also think that even good books are improved tremendously when an actor performs the narration.
Clever story -- sort of June Cleaver meets Xaviera Hollander, and right in Maryland! Linda Emond is a jewel. She takes Lippman's perfect prose to the level of high art. This is one winning combo, especially for those who remember Maryland in the '70s.
Laura Lippman is one of my favorite authors. I find great pleasure reading (listening) her books. Having read 8 of her books, And When She Was Good is my absolute favorite.
Honestly this book is short. You will finish it quickly. I found it hard to pause to go do other things. I haven't read anything else by this author but this is a fun book.
this was a great and very thorough book. it's about scandalous issues and the pursuit of normality spun in a thrilling but somehow relatable way that keeps you interested in the entire time. best of all there's no cheap ambiguous ending, instead it's a complete and satisfying conclusion leaving me excited for the author's next books. very much well worth the credit.
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