Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Book Review: Emily, Gone

By Sara Steven

When a music festival rolls through the sleepy town of Hesterville, Georgia, the Dixon family’s lives are forever changed. On the final night, a storm muffles the sound of the blaring music, and Rachel tucks her baby into bed before falling into a deep sleep. So deep, she doesn’t hear the kitchen door opening. When she and her husband wake up in the morning, the crib is empty. Emily is gone.

Vicki Robart is one of the thousands at the festival, but she’s not feeling the music. She’s feeling the emptiness over the loss of her own baby several months before. When she leaves the festival and is faced with an opportunity to fill that void, she is driven to an act of desperation that will forever bind the lives of three women.

When the truth of what actually happened that fateful night is finally exposed, shattering the lives they’ve built, will they be able to pick up the pieces to put their families back together again? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

Emily, Gone had me riveted. Absolutely riveted. From the beginning to the end. And it takes skill to create a protagonistic character who can be identified with, conjuring up feelings of sadness and understanding, as with Vicki. While she has chosen to do an unspeakable, horrific thing, I felt I could understand what had driven her to that madness. It doesn’t make it right, but it made the situation sympathetic.

Having children of my own, my heart hurt for Rachel’s situation, in losing her only child. Bette Lee Crosby created this perfect tragic scenario, well described and honest, in what it must be like to go through something that fills dark days and moments, divided only by the brief fleeting moments of potential hope. The ripple effect of one poor decision has completely destroyed so many lives, in more ways than one, and it was depicted so well.

There is a sleepy slope of time spread out over the pages, beginning with 1971, slowly progressing forward, much like I imagine the markings of time to be in “real life”, where time stands more still when there is bleakness surrounding the moments. The flavor of the various decades provided a nice added backdrop to how much things change, even when no one wants it to. And, how many times we have to change with it, or we’ll get left behind in the moments we can never return to. That was felt so strongly with Rachel.

While I felt the ending was buttoned up a little too nicely, and did feel a little predictable, the rest of the story blended well into the finale, opening up new questions and potential possibilities for how the women in this story will move forward and deal. It’s the story within the stories of the various women’s lives that really make Emily, Gone much deserving of the five stars I’ve given it.

Thanks to Bette Lee Crosby for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Bette Lee Crosby:

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Terrific review!!

Thanks for sharing.