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Publisher's Summary

At forty-five, Hannah Smith is at a crossroads. That's her spin on it. The reality is she's divorced, jobless, and moving back to her family home in Iowa to keep an eye on her mother, who's slipping into dementia. Her return stirs up the same unnerving sense of disconnect Hannah has felt since childhood - always the odd girl out, the loner outshone by her two older sisters. Hannah knew the feelings of hurt would come back. But she never expected fear. Because when her mother looks into her eyes and whispers, "You're not my daughter," Hannah is beginning to believe it's not just the rambling of a confused woman.

It's the truth.

Now Hannah's following the trail of a family mystery to the dark coast of Big Sur, where years ago a lie was born - and buried. As frightened as she is to unearth it, Hannah knows this is the last chance she has before her past - and all its terrible secrets - are lost forever.

©2017 Victoria Helen Stone. (P)2017 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    83
  • 4 Stars
    58
  • 3 Stars
    46
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    5

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    101
  • 4 Stars
    41
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    62
  • 4 Stars
    50
  • 3 Stars
    35
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    7
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

She never felt like a member of her family,...

...and at age 45 she has reason to wonder why. She looks like her dad, but blood tests show the woman she has always called mom cannot be her mother. Hannah Smith's year 2017 search for her true identity takes her from Iowa to California to find the truth of what happened in the early 1970's. This novel is an excellent psychological mystery. Narration is stellar.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Imagine being 45 years old and...

finding out that the woman you thought was your mother could not in any way shape or form be the woman who gave birth to you! This is what happened to Hannah when she returns to her home town to help care for her mother who is suffering from dementia. While at the nursing home the staff draws blood and Hannah learns that her mother has type AB while she has type O, her mother is not her mother. And her journey begins... The adage "be careful what you ask for" holds it's truest meaning in this story.
I really enjoyed this book. Although it's not an edge of the seat kind of thriller, it is a good mystery. The end shocked me, I didn't see it coming.
Emily Sutton-Smith did a fantastic job narrating.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
If you found this review helpful please indicate so.
Thank You.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Too Slow for Me

Would you try another book from Victoria Helen Stone and/or Emily Sutton-Smith?

Yes

What was most disappointing about Victoria Helen Stone’s story?

I found myself skipping ahead ... and never felt like I missed anything.

Which character – as performed by Emily Sutton-Smith – was your favorite?

none

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It was well read and the story was actually good - just took too long to tell it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great plot with excellent narrator

For fans of genealogical mysteries this was a great book. The characters are believable the main character someone I could identify with and the setting one I know well, it was described perfectly. Perhaps I'm bias as I absolutely love Emily Sutton Smiths voice but I thought she did a wonderful job here. She really shines on doing introspection and her soothing voice is both mysterious and yet calming even when she's reading action scenes. Don't pass this great find up!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Thoroughly enjoyable

I loved this book. The characters are complex, flawed individuals and refreshingly human. The story is full of compassion for self and others, and ultimately about redemption.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed the story

Perhaps because I live near Big Sur, the story struck a chord with me. It's believable, sad and captures your imagination.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not what I thought it was

Yes there are lots of family secrets, but you can probably figure then all out before the end of the book. I was looking for more of thriller. This book was alright but not one I would read again.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

I really wanted to love this book

NO SPOILERS!

I have a mother going through dementia so a portion of the novel definitely hit home. The author was able to portray the highs, lows and dangers with those afflicted with dementia extremely well.

Why 3 stars?

The storyline was intriguing and unique although the ending was a mixed bag as it was inconsistent with the main character.

My views on the story as written (based on the character, not the author) are:

1. I found it very difficult to like the main character as she was abrasive and self-absorbed throughout the novel.

2. The main character is a somewhat militant feminist and looks down on those with kids and has a disdain for religion (in this case, Evangelical Christians). Please note that I don't care if a person is religious or atheist as I have both kinds in my family and love them all).

3. She blames every one except herself for her failings including getting married. As a strong feminist, she can tell her guy that marriage is not an option. For anyone else, if you think marriage will end in divorce, don't get married.

4. She definitely has something against corn! ;)

5. I don't think she had a good relationship with anyone she met more than a few times with one exception (not going to give a spoiler).

6. Too much time was spent lamenting perceived wrongs although that is something that many writers are guilty of AND many readers enjoy!


What did I like?

It is obvious that the author herself is intelligent and willing to take risks. While I may not have enjoyed how the story unfolded; others may love it.

I will read another book by the author as she is a talented writer and I am interested in seeing how other characters are written.




  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Mixed Emotions, Unrelatable Main Character

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Hannah, oh Hannah! How I truly tried to wrap my head around the main character, Hannah. She discovers early on in the book, by accident, that her mother hadn't given birth to her and goes on a journey to figure out the mystery. I really hate reviews that give away too much of the story, so I won't. No spoilers here. However, I found the main character to be selfish, immature and ungrateful of all the blessings she did have. Would I have taken the same journey? Undoubtably. With the same life or death urgency when the women who raised me was finishing out her last days? Probably not. I understand what Hannah calls her mid-life crisis, but there is not much of a resolution to this. And all her whining and binge drinking got, honestly, quite boring. Interesting enough overall story that I kept with it, curious to find out the conclusion to the mystery. I found the pieces/people needed to solving her "mystery" a bit too convenient and easy, not much imagination there. This is by no means a "can't put it down- stay up all night - page turner". Just not that kind of mystery. If you relate to the main character then you might really enjoy this book. It gets a solid "eh" from me.

Which character – as performed by Emily Sutton-Smith – was your favorite?

I did enjoy the narration. Especially when it came to the mid-western sisters. Emily Sutton -Smith did a fantastic job.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Honestly, it might be one the the VERY few books I can say might make a better movie than a book.

Any additional comments?

This is one of those books that I think will appeal to everyone very differently. Or not at all. Give it two chapters, at least, if you're uncertain. Then you'll know if it's for you.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Depressing

The main character was so angry at every body and everthing. Was tired of listening to it. Narrator was good.