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
This book fails in a number of ways. It is difficult to really like the heroine. There are threads that are not developed--there is a problem between Heloise and her half sister that is introduced but never explained. The ending is very predictable, unrealistic and way too pat. I think that there was a reason that this book was put on hold for ten years.
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.
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 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 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.
I found this book interesting and entertaining (frequently I find I can only hope for one of the two) and the narration - once I got into the story - was very well done though not at all overdone. Great listen!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book from beginning to end! The story was great and Linda Emond was perfect for the narration. Helen was such a great character that went through so much but was so matter of fact about how she lived her life. Never feeling sorry for herself or her circumstances. The anticipation I had as the reader just waiting to see when & where & how the ball would drop (so to speak) had me hooked!! Wish I was better at explaining but truly one fantastic read!
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