Emma in the Night | Book Review
Posted on July 11, 2017
From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back…
One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.
Author: Wendy Walker
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Number of Pages: 320
Purchase on: Amazon
Hernández Novels Score: 4.5/5
First and foremost I want to thank St. Martin’s Press for sending me a copy of Emma in the Night via NetGalley in return for an honest review. NetGalley recommended I read this novel, as I’m an avid thriller fan, and I was most definitely not disappointed. I can’t even remember the last time I devoured a book this fast – I finished it in less than a week! From start to finish I could not put the book down. I never read at the gym, but you bet I sat on a bicycle and read. I never read during lunch at work, but you bet I read while I ate my homemade chicken fried rice. I never read when I get home from work, but you bet I laid down on that couch and kept reading every single word.
We are immediately immersed in Cass’ world when she returns home after disappearing for three years. Cass disappeared with her sister Emma and is adamant that Emma must be found, immediately. With the help of the FBI, Cass begins to tell the story of where she’s been for the last three years, how she got there, and what happened to her while she was gone. Cass narrates her own story, but we also get another perspective, Dr. Winter’s, which is given to us from the third person. Dr. Winter has doubts about Cass’ story, and Cass herself is the kind of narrator that tells us what’s on the surface level, but never gives up her deepest thoughts to us. Is Cass’ story real? Where is Emma? Why and how did they disappear? What does Judy Martin, their mother, have to do with all of this? I needed the answers immediately, so I kept reading and reading every spare moment I had.
What I really liked about the book:
– The entire story is so well thought-out. It must have taken Wendy a lot of work to figure out every piece of the story before constructing it so beautifully. I was amazed by the story-telling. At the end, I had no questions about what happened, and was only left pondering about the future of the characters.
– I really appreciated that every chapter changed the perspective of the story. As Cass would finish one part of her narrative, I immediately wanted to know how Dr. Winter felt about it and what her analysis was. How did she explain Cass’ behavior? What did she notice that I didn’t while I pictured Cass answering the FBI’s questions?
– The psychology behind the story’s premise is brilliant. The main focus of the story is on the mother-daughter relationship, one tarnished by a parent who suffers of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. What forces have created the monster within Judy Martin, the girl’s Mom, and how does that monster play into the disappearance of the girls?
– Every single character was fully realized. I knew who every character was, why each stood out, and how each one thought and behaved. Wendy did a near-perfect job materializing each of her characters.
What I really didn’t like about the book:
– I was hooked every minute of this ride, but when I finally learned the truth behind the girl’s disappearance, I was disappointed. I was disappointed because I felt that the wait was long, and exciting, but the pay off wasn’t worth it. I had imagined something more exciting, more interesting, more out of this world. This is the only reason why Emma in the Night does not get a perfect five star rating. However, the real bomb drops on you in the last two chapters, and Wendy drops it so nonchalantly that it took me a second to fully grasp the reality of it. My mind was blown!
I enjoyed Wendy’s Emma in the Night so much that I am looking forward to reading her first thriller All is not Forgotten. I hope it’s as good as this one! Emma in the Night will have you on the edge of your seat piecing this difficult puzzle together, wondering what is real and what isn’t, what is truth and what isn’t, and will, in the end, make you shed a tear of hope for the future of the characters you will learn to love. You absolutely must pre-order and read it immediately (when it debuts on August 8, 2017).
Thank you, Wendy, for your creativity and voice. I love a strong female writer, and I think I have found someone to be excited about. I look forward to checking out the rest of your previous work, and waiting anxiously for your future stories. You’ve got a new fan!
Does Emma in the Night sound like something you want to read? Why or why not? Leave your thoughts, comments, questions, and suggestions below!
Rush over to Amazon and pre-order the book now,
Great review. I felt much the same way about the payoff. I read the bulk of this book in a car dealership while getting it serviced, and I was really frustrated at points because it seemed to drag in certain places. The plot was very well thoughtout and I had no questions about what happened to the sisters, but I couldn’t shake the sense of frustration I felt.
Thank you, Lauren. It was definitely an interesting read. I enjoyed it!
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