An online marketing consultant, an avid reader of 400 + books a year. Professional reader, reviewer, and blogger. Enjoy ARCs and new releases.
By: T. Greenwood
Publication Date: 2/23/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars +
A special thank you to Kensington and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Cover Love!
An avid fan of talented storyteller, T. Greenwood, she returns following The Forever Bridge, "Best 2015 Literary Suspense Fiction" landing on my Top 50 Books of 2015, with her latest, and most captivating book yet, WHERE I LOST HER—Top Domestic Suspense Thrillers of 2016.
Superbly written, from the striking front cover-- a lost little girl in the woods, appearing in the darkness, in the middle of the road, wearing a tattered tutu and boots, connects briefly with a woman suffering from her own horrific tragedy – and a desperate need to save a little girl from impending danger;when no one believes she even exists, questioning her sanity.
"Acclaimed Author T. Greenwood Tackles Psychological Suspense Amid Motherhood, Infidelity and Madness."
In 2007 in Guatemala City, Tess Waters had believed promises. There was a thin line between patience and foolishness. She had paid dearly for her optimism and blind faith. Hope overriding all sensibility. This had become her religion; her faith; driven by simple and primitive selfish want. Willful and necessary blindness. Her hopes and dreams vanished.
Jump to the present Lake Gormlaith, Vermont, June 2015.Tess and her husband Jake are visiting from Brooklyn. Effie and Devin live in a cabin (a camp by the lake) in a remote area, where she grew up. The couple have two daughters, Plum (ten) and Zu-Zu (thirteen). Tess loves the girls. It has been a year since their last visit—it hurts too much to see this beautiful family, and a cruel reminder of what they have lost.
The girls, always excited with their pending visits, bringing them gifts from the city, calling them aunt and uncle. Tess and Effie had been friends since they were just girls, still like sisters. ZuZu has been accepted into a prestigious summer ballet intensive in the city, and they are to bring her back with them when they leave on Sunday. Effie’s sister is there and will be teaching her classes.
Jake is a literary agent, and two years earlier he started his own boutique agency. Tess suspects he is also having an affair; she sees the flirty banter of texts. She has been carrying around this secret for months. She is numb. Tess left the publishing world eight years ago, back from Central America. Effie is a busy mom, and drives a bookmobile for the library and Devin teaches art at the college, an artist himself. Sometimes Tess yearns for this simple life, and she misses her best friend.
Readers never fully understand in the beginning what happened in Tess’s past, and the extent of her tragedy; however, Greenwood unravels pieces of the puzzle as we move along with flash backs to the days in Guatemala and after. Ultimately the last portion is revealed near the end—powerful.
Tess had a strong desire for a child and was unable to have any, and turned to the adoption route after unsuccessful attempts. She wants nothing more than a family of her own-wanting her children to grow up with Effie's. Something happened to shatter her dreams and she is still emotionally hanging by a thread, drowning herself in alcohol. Her hopes and dreams were lost, and now her marriage is in trouble. Something went wrong with the adoption—and ultimately affecting their careers, financial status, and their personal relationship. What happened in Guatemala?
The first night in Vermont, Tess needs another bottle of wine to soothe her nerves and takes off to the store, after she has already had a few glasses. Six miles away, a deserted rural dirt road. However, while at the store, she sees a strange man in a white truck at the gas pump, with a vicious pit bulldog. He gives her a creepy feeling.
On her way back to the camp in the bend of the road, she hits a pothole and the wine rolls off in the floor and cracks. All of a sudden when she is reaching, she leans back up and sees something in her headlights. Her heart pounding, she sees a little girl. She is ghostly pale, naked from the waist up, wearing a tattered pink tutu and plastic rain boots, red with black spots like a ladybug. Around four years old, with a little round belly, wild eyes, and curly brown hair. She looks frightened. Her hand is bleeding and she reaches out to her.
The girl is scared, and she notices an orange plastic bunny barrette in her hair, which has come loose. She looks cold, so Tess is walking back to the car to get her sweater; however, she clicks on the remote to the trunk and instead hits the alarm and scares her. Off she goes in the dark black wilderness.
Tess is chasing her in the cold darkness full of adrenaline and heart pounding. She goes back to her car to get her phone and then she sees the headlights of the truck from the store, which passes and does not stop. She has no signal to call 911. She has been drinking, and her car is full of wine. She leaves the sweater as a marker and goes back to her friend’s house to call for help. She is frantic.
They begin an extensive search for days—the authorities are called in with dogs and helicopters. Search parties. No one can find the little girl. No one has reported her missing. Where did she go? Tess will not leave to return to Brooklyn until she finds this little girl. After a while, no one believes her. An illusion, based on her past stress and mental health? Was she drinking and just imagined the girl? They call in a psychic and she believes her. She gives her clues which help; however, Tess is determined she will continue to search.
When the police call off the search, Tess begins digging and starts her own investigation. However, she soon learns there is a pedophile living close by, a day care woman which is acting strange, a man in a while truck with a dog with clipped ears, illegal activity, and a criminal drug ring. All the while, she cannot rest until she finds this little girl. She senses she is in great danger.
She lost something once, and now she will fight to the bitter end. Tess’s quest for atonement--she has lost one child, and now is her second chance to redeem herself. She is driven and obsessed with this helpless little girl. Everyone thinks she is the girl who cried wolf and no one takes her seriously, based on her past and present state. On top of her desperate need to find the little girl before it is too late, the cops are suing her for using their manpower for a meaningless search and has to hire a local attorney. All the while she has to stop drinking to be strong to find this little one.
Spellbinding! A bittersweet domestic suspense, both haunting and healing---Greenwood captures readers from the first page to the last, with an ongoing dark sense of foreboding and danger, lurking in the background, drawing you into the suspense and mystery. The scene when she was hiding out in the bathroom--I was on pins and needles, holding my breath!
Having read all T. Greenwood’s books, each is a journey to discovery, a new birth, overcoming tragedy and loss; to hope. Poignant, and compelling, keeping you glued to the pages. An absorbing story which will grab you and characters you recall long after the book ends.
With a blend of Greenwood’s special literary flair, domestic family drama, and the fast-paced, heart-pounding intensity, suspense, and mystery of a riveting psycho-crime thriller! You cannot miss this one—you will be enamored by this little girl, and one courageous woman’s determination.