A woman uncovers earth-shattering secrets about her husband's family in this chilling page-turner from New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf
Sarah Quinlan's husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. The case rocked the small farm town of Penny Gate, Iowa, where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, hospitalized in a coma, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded.
Upon arriving in Penny Gate, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago—barely a trace of the wounds that had once devastated them all. But as facts about Julia's accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack's past. But the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.
I was so excited about this book, I was looking forwards to it, since I have enjoyed the author's previous novels, but this didn't live up to my expectations, and here is why.
The story was told on Sarah's point of view. She is the 'outsider' in the family and in the events. She doesn't know Jack's family members, nearly at all, and it seems she didn't know her husband Jack so well either. So immediately, I never felt like I was 'in the story', just rather cold, plain, emotionless look into the events.
And there was plenty of drama, danger, secrets, odd events, all that could bring the tension up, and make the story sizzle, but it never did, just telling it as it was. Yes, I need the emotional connection to the story I am reading, to enjoy it, and to be involved in it.
Also, Jack and Sarah themselves seemed, well, they didn't seem like a happy couple, married for 20 some years, there wasn't a connection between them, no chemistry, nothing. As soon as there was doubt brought to her mind, Sarah doesn't trust a word Jack says, or anything he does, because of things that happen before they met?! Sarah had worked as an investigative reporter before taking care of their daughters, and now she is collecting clues on the murders, getting help from a woman who works at the police station. The woman, Margaret, used to babysit Jack and his sister, and because of that connection, she hands over case files for Sarah, after knowing her for just a couple of days?!
Yes, there are lots of secrets, old murder, that seems to have a connection to the death of Jack's aunt. As those secret's are revealed, and evidence has brought to light, everyone is suspected, no one is in the clear, and trust is put into a hard test.
The story isn't a long one, or hard to read, but I struggled with it, mostly just couldn't connect with it, and the characters felt flat, some of the events unreal. So not quite my cup of tea, but it does seem to have a lot of fans, so maybe you should judge for yourself. My score is
~ Two Spoons
MY GRADING SCALE:
5 Spoons - Amazing, memorable story that I loved and want to read again. The best of the best and not given lightly
4 Spoons - Fantastic, entertaining story that I enjoyed and connected with and will gladly recommend to readers
3 Spoons - A good story, not much that stood out but I was engaged enough to spend the time to read it through
2 Spoons - A story with some issues, that were a problem to me
1 Spoon - Not for me