William Morrow | 6 July 2021 | 336 pgs
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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