Wednesday, June 15, 2016
It isn’t safe. That’s what Joe tells her when he ends their affair—moments before their car skids off an icy road in a blinding snowstorm and hits a tree. Desperate to keep her life intact—her job, her husband, and her precious daughter, Lily—Dorrie will do everything she can to protect herself, even if it means walking away from the wreckage. Dorrie has always been a good actress, pretending to be someone else: the dutiful daughter, the satisfied wife, the woman who can handle anything. Now she’s going to put on the most challenging performance of her life. But details about the accident leave her feeling uneasy and afraid. Why didn’t Joe’s airbag work? Why was his car door open before the EMTs arrived? And now suddenly someone is calling her from her dead lover’s burner phone. . . . Joe’s death has left his wife in free fall as well. Karen knew Joe was cheating—she found some suspicious e-mails. Trying to cope with grief is devastating enough without the constant fear that has overtaken her—this feeling she can’t shake that someone is watching her. And with Joe gone and the kids grown, she’s vulnerable . . . and on her own.
Insurance investigator Maggie Devlin is suspicious of the latest claim that’s landed on her desk—a man dying on an icy road shortly after buying a lucrative life insurance policy. Maggie doesn’t believe in coincidences. The former cop knows that things—and people—are never what they seem to be.
As the fates of these three women become more tightly entwined, layers of lies and deception begin to peel away, pushing them dangerously to the edge . . . closer to each other . . . to a terrifying truth . . . to a shocking end. -- William Morrow
Last night, our book club met to discuss THE OTHER WIDOW by Susan Crawford. When we picked this book from our list of choices, it was almost a unanimous selection. Needless to say, we had high hopes for this psychological suspense novel. The description made the book sound promising, and it also dealt with the issues of marriage and infidelity which should have provided some material for discussion.
Unfortunately, we didn't end up talking a whole heck of a lot about the novel. Maybe it was a week of vacations and being home with the kids, but our talkative group was even more chatty than normal. We talked about my Disney/Universal vacation last week along with some planned summer camps and vacation plans. Honestly, we were all over the place!
I also think another contributing factor was that none of us loved THE OTHER WIDOW. While we all read the entire book, we agreed that we didn't really connect with (or even like) any of the characters all that much. And while there were some worthwhile twists at the end of the novel (that none of us saw coming), we thought it took a long time to get to that point.
Personally, I think a psychological suspense story can be difficult to discuss at a book club meeting. We've read ones that we've really enjoyed and still found it hard to talk about the characters and their actions. I think we fell into the trap of analyzing the plot points and twists rather than the bigger themes.
JANE DOE JANUARY: MY TWENTY-YEAR SEARCH FOR TRUTH AND JUSTICE by Emily Winslow. I really pushed for this memoir because I thought it sounded fascinating. I'm pretty sure not everyone is as excited to read this one as I am. In fact, one member told me she won't read it... at all.
Summary: Emily Winslow was a young drama student at an elite conservatory in Pittsburgh when she was brutally raped one night in January 1992. Twenty years later, a man was arrested in New York City. His DNA, recorded in the FBI’s criminal database because of an old drug conviction, had been matched to evidence from another 1992 rape that was similar to Winslow’s, and the police were able to link the crimes. The victims—one from January of that year, the other from November—were kept anonymous in the media. This is the story of Jane Doe January.
Now a happily married mother of two living in Cambridge, England, Winslow had longed to face her attacker for years. Highly inquisitive and restless for answers, she turned her career as a crime novelist into a personal investigation—she delved into his past, reconnected with the detectives of her case, and worked with prosecutors in the months leading up to the trial. While preparing to testify back in Pennsylvania for the crime committed against her two decades prior, she was pulled between two very different worlds: a hard-boiled American drama of intense detectives and legal bureaucracy, and her rarefied new world in Cambridge, where the university’s rituals and pervasive formality were both a comfort and a challenge.
Jane Doe January is the intimate memoir of a woman’s traumatic past catching up with her. In her first work of nonfiction, Winslow vividly recounts her long quest to see her case resolved, giving way to a strikingly honest narrative about the surprise possibility of justice after twenty years.