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.
©2016 Heather Young (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers
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!
I think this book lends itself very well to audio and the narration really brings the characters to life. The narrator for Lucy sounded very much like an old woman at the end of her life. She spoke slowly and with frequent audible gasps for breath which I would usually find distracting but in this case it was completely suitable for the character. The narrator for Justine sounded exactly like the "cool mom" which is what Justine is. She captured the vulnerability of the character but also the underlying strength.
This is a very sad and melancholy story with two different threads/time periods woven together. It starts very slowly as it sets the location and mood for the slow building mystery. Then near the end it all breaks loose and is quite shocking and more than a little disturbing. The beginning might be too slow for many but if you stick with it you will be rewarded with a very emotional and devastating ending for one story line, and a crazy violent and then kind of happy ending for the other.
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.
While I loved this story, I couldn't help but rage against the helplessness of these women and girls. Where was the school social worker or neighbor who might have intervened? Are our children any safer today?
It took a little to get in to this story it kept going back in time but after a while i got it and understood what was going on. The past and the present coming together. When the fire broke out at Christmas during the night I knew Patrick had to do. Now back to the past, imagine my surprise to discover what happen to Emily. But thing that really pissed me off was the father and nothing was ever done about his "implied" molesting his daughters. All in all it was a long story but comes together in the end.
The reader who read for Justine used almost no inflection in her voice. It was as if the reader was depressed and sleepy. It made the story seem like a real snoozer.
This book did start out a little bit slow, but after a while it picked up and kept going. I found myself wanting to listen to it every chance I got. It is a wonderful story focusing on two sisters and their childhood. There is mystery and intrigue and it's quite suspenseful. There is no blood and gore or anything like that which was a welcomed difference to most of the books that I listen to. This book is basically two people both telling a story about their lives. I found the performances by both readers wonderful. They both make the characters in the story more interesting. They don't just read a book to you, they actually tell you the story. I hated when this book ended because I wanted more! I received this book at no cost from audiobook boom in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.
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