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Book Review: And When She Was Good – Laura Lippman

Donna Brown804 views
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About And When She Was Good
And When She Was GoodWhen Hector Lewis told his daughter that she had a nothing face, it was just another bit of tossed-off cruelty from a man who specialized in harsh words and harsher deeds. But twenty years later, Heloise considers it a blessing to be a person who knows how to avoid attention. In the comfortable suburb where she lives, she’s just a mom, the youngish widow with a forgettable job who somehow never misses a soccer game or a school play. In the state capitol, 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 her hourly fee.

For more than a decade, Heloise has believed she is safe. She has created a rigidly compartmentalized life, maintaining no real friendships, trusting few confidantes. Only now her secret life, a life she was forced to build after the legitimate world turned its back on her, is under siege. Her once oblivious accountant is asking loaded questions. Her longtime protector is hinting at new, mysterious dangers. Her employees can’t be trusted. One county over, another so-called suburban madam has been found dead in her car, a suicide. Or is it?

Nothing is as it seems as Heloise faces a midlife crisis with much higher stakes than most will ever know.

And then she learns that her son’s father might be released from prison, which is problematic because he doesn’t know he has a son. The killer and former pimp also doesn’t realize that he’s serving a life sentence because Heloise betrayed him. But he’s clearly beginning to suspect that Heloise has been holding something back all these years.

With no formal education, no real family, and no friends, Heloise has to remake her life—again. Disappearing will be the easy part. She’s done it before and she can do it again. A new name and a new place aren’t hard to come by if you know the right people. The trick will be living long enough to start a new life.

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Review: And When She Was Good

I absolutely love a good suspense novel and twists and turns – if well done – are always appreciated.  And When She Was Good particularly surprised me in that it has a main character, Heloise, who I really shouldn’t empathise with. She’s objectionable in many ways, not necessarily because of her unconventional profession but more because of her arrogance and slight air of superiority. Instead, I actually loved her feistiness and her determination.

And When She Was Good is a great novel about the lioness backed into a corner, doing everything she can to protect her life and her child. There may be some unconventional means taken to do this but that simply adds to the idea that she will go to any lengths to make sure her child has a good future. It is therefore hardly surprising that she encounters trouble from multiple sides: from an employee, from a former partner, from the law, even from her accountant.

What I liked most about this novel was that it started with life being relatively in order with one or two ends dangling. Threads were pulled and life became much more complicated very, very quickly. The novel had an extremely fast pace and that added to the feeling of the world rapidly crumbling around her and having to make quick decisions in order to salvage whatever she could.

This is one of those times when you’re really not sure if you should like the main character but – darn it! – you’re going to root for her anyway. You’ll decide after-the-fact whether or not she deserves it. For now, can she get out of the scrape? How will she do it? What will she sacrifice? When you’re swept along so fully by a book and its story and characters, how can you not love it?

Verdict: 4/5

Source: Netgalley

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Donna Brown
Avid reader/audiobook listener, fan of podcasts, prone to the odd Netflix binge. Mum to six crazy and incredible rescue cats. Occasional writer of short stories and poetry.

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