Month: June 2014

ARC: Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

Posted on 06/30/2014 in Book Review / 2 Comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC: Elizabeth is Missing by Emma HealeyElizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
Published by Harper Collins on June 10, 2014
Genres: Adult, Mystery
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

In this darkly riveting debut novel-a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also an heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging-an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences.\r\n\r\nMaud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memory-and her grip on everyday life. Yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth, whom she is convinced is missing and in terrible danger.

But no one will listen to Maud-not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth's mercurial son, Peter. Armed with handwritten notes she leaves for herself and an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth and save her beloved friend.

This singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud's rapidly dissolving present. But the clues she discovers seem only to lead her deeper into her past, to another unsolved disappearance: her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II.

As vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more fifty years ago come flooding back, Maud discovers new momentum in her search for her friend. Could the mystery of Sukey's disappearance hold the key to finding Elizabeth?

Haunting. That’s the best way I can describe the story of Maud, whose memory is slowing declining due to dementia. She knows that her best friend Elizabeth is missing, and she is determined to find out what has happened to her, but the only clues that she has are the notes she writes to herself. But can she even trust these notes? It doesn’t seem that anyone is willing to help her find her friend, and no one seems terribly concerned with her absence. Elizabeth’s disappearance brings back memories from seventy years ago, when Maud’s older sister disappeared and was never heard from again. The story alternates between the past and present mysteries, but they are woven together seamlessly through things that trigger Maud’s memories. I’ve mentioned before how much I like books that do that, and this was no exception. I knew that there could be no happily ever after for Maud, but I so badly wanted these mysteries to be solved! Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey felt very real, and even though dementia is a tough – and scary! – subject to tackle, the characters were extremely well-written. I felt so much sympathy for Maud, experiencing something that must be so terrifying and confusing.  And as she declines, we realize just how hard this is on her family, how frustrating and heart-breaking it is, particularly for her daughter. I also really liked her granddaughter, Katy, who had a great sense of humor and was very kind to Maud. Even though it was incredibly sad at times, I really enjoyed this book.  It was filled with suspense and some humor, and the unraveling of the mysteries – particularly the one from the past – was great.  A very impressive debut novel – and especially from an author who is only 28! Definitely a story that will stick with me for a long time.