William Morrow | 6 July 2021 | 336 pgs
Source: Library 

Journalist Joan Lurie's life takes a turn after her article exposing a newspaper tycoon as a sexual predator leads her being assaulted and had her hiding at a highly secure apartment called the Refuge, which was once a Magdalen Laundry (googled and found some info from Wikipedia here). She's had informants who pointed at the tycoon's dirty deeds, but so far none came forward or they'd "vanished into thin air", thus leaving her with information that could end her in a book deal if she's willing to write it. However, her stay at the Refuge doesn't really offer her the peace and security that she wants. She still feels being watched; or perhaps it's the aftermath of the assault which left her with a vision and memory problems. 

Enter two women who will either save or wreck havoc in Joan’s life. Lillian Day is Joan’s new 96-year-old neighbor and she has her own story to tell. During the 1940s, troubled and wayward girls are sent to the Magdalen Laundry but the poor atmosphere and treatments had had them attempt escape but unfortunately had led to some death. Lillian also shares a mystery involving her past life which remains unsolved until the end. Melissa Osgood, on the other hand, is the tycoon's wife and she harbours an obsession of stalking Joan as she believes Joan has wrecked their family's life instead of finding the truth about her husband's other life. It is only through his "suicide" that had her find out about his finances problems, but that doesn't stop her from stalking Joan and doing some investigations on her own. 

Carol Goodman is a wonderful storyteller and she's always great at setting the scene, be it atmospheric or Gothic. While this story was engaging, I felt it has too many subplots so the focus was a bit lost. The combination between the #MeToo movement and part of Lillian's story serves an awareness of the current social issues we're facing today, but they're bogged down by a few threads and not to mention Joan's anxiety and Melissa's obsession. Then there's Lillian's story which stands on its own and has not much relation to the core of the story though it was intriguing. Overall, I felt the story was all over the place and some parts implausible regarding Melissa's investigations. That said, Carol Goodman's writing is engaging as always and I hope her next book will be better. 

It seems like my posts have been sporadic nowadays and I apologise for that. Life plus procrastination is the main culprit and my father-in-law's passing and the wake last week had had me in no mood/time to read, let alone drafting and writing posts. My father-in-law had kidney problem and other underlying medical condition for a while, but he was hit by stroke lately and this led to his condition deteriorated. While it was sad, at least he's not suffering now. I am gradually back to my reading mojo now but I'll be slow in blog hopping and commenting so thanks for your understanding. Anyhoo, what're you reading and what's happening on your side of the world now? 
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7 Responses
  1. Melody, I'm sorry to read about your FIL's passing. This time of year makes the loss even tougher I'm sure.

    I read the Carol Goodman novel and while I like the author and the story had potential, I struggled with that one. I hope your reading improves.

  2. jenclair Says:

    So sorry to hear about your father-in-law's death. It is so difficult to carry on all the mundane little details of life when grieving.

  3. Kay Says:

    Melody, I'm so sorry for the loss of your father-in-law. I read this book too and I noticed that it's one that I just mentioned I read, said I liked it OK, and then didn't say more. I think my thoughts were similar to yours. I really like Carol Goodman's works, but I'm ready to move on to the next one. Maybe not her best - for me at least.

  4. Lark Says:

    I'm so sorry to hear about your father-in-law, Melody! Death can really stop you in your tracks, can't it? I'll be keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. cleemckenzie Says:

    I'm intrigued by the 96 year-old character. That makes me want to read the story.

    My condolences on your loss. Losing our family members is one of life's hardest challenges and there are never enough words of comfort.

  6. Susan Says:

    I'm so sorry for your loss. That has to be tough, but at least he is no longer in pain.

    I'm a Goodman fan, but I agree - this one is not her best.

  7. Melody Says:

    Thank you everyone, for your thoughts and everything! I really appreciate them and please give me some time for blog hopping and commenting. :) Hopefully I'll have a new review post up soon.

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