The Lost Girls

The Lost Girls

A Novel

Book - 2016 | First edition
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In the summer of 1935, six-year-old Emily Evans vanished from her family's vacation home on a remote Minnesota lake. The loss devastated the family. Sixty-four years later, Emily's sister Lucy writes the story of that harrowing summer in a notebook that she bequeaths, along with the lake house and a hefty investment portfolio, to her grandniece, Justine. For Justine, the lake house offers a chance to give her own daughters a stable home she never had, but the dilapidated house is cold in the winter, the lake silent and forbidding, and her only neighbors are two strange old men who seem to know more than they're telling about the summer of 1935. When Justine's troubled oldest daughter becomes obsessed with Emily's disappearance, Justine's mother arrives wanting money, and Justine's manipulative ex-boyfriend launches a plan to get her back, Justine must overcome her family's tragic legacy in her effort to save herself and her children.
Publisher: New York, NY :, William Morrow, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,, [2016]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062456656
Branch Call Number: FIC Youn
Characteristics: 341 pages ; 24 cm


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Oct 31, 2020

This was one of the finest, most beautifully crafted novels I've read in a long time. It most certainly is not a "feel good" novel, and yet I found its ending to be deeply satisfying and soundly right. Heather Young is a master at describing poignantly all those moments of human communication that pass between people in a touch, a silence, a facial expression. This is a book I look forward to reading again, but not before I move on to her second and most recent novel.

Jun 20, 2020

Although the title to me suggests another kidnap/murder story, this was a surprise read. Moderately suspenseful, a coming-of-age saga spanning three generations, I fully enjoyed the character development of the intriguing narrators and their families. Told in an alternating view point, the story kept me involved and guessing until the end.

Nov 25, 2019

Very well written, tightly plotted, good theme development. I really enjoyed this book.

Sep 24, 2019

When Justine learns that her elderly great-aunt has passed away and left her lake home and life savings to Justine, she leaves behind her controlling boyfriend, packs her two girls into the car and drives from San Diego to northern Minnesota. There, another story is waiting to be told: that of the family back in 1935, during the heyday of the lake's summer communities, and also of the mysterious disappearance of a six-year-old girl.

I really enjoyed this book, and as a native Minnesotan the "up north" summer cabin life felt quite familiar. At times the plot kept me guessing, and at others my suspicions proved correct. I'm thankful Justine's relationship didn't take a more violent turn, despite some of the foreshadowing. This would make a great summer read.

Jun 13, 2019

2016; William Morrow/Harper Collins

I went into this novel thinking it was more of a suspense thriller than a fiction book with a mystery. Right off the bat, I will admit other than the young girls, Melanie and Angela, I didn't really connect with the characters. While what happened to Emily was plausible, it seemed a bit too flippant. Almost like, oh right, Emily died and we have to give some sort of ending. There were certain plotlines that Young was trying to hint at without saying but it seemed too much in your face. I'd rather have just known right out about the secrets. The dancing around the secret got a bit tedious and then I just didn't care when it was revealed as it felt like you already knew. Even the description above is more of a summary than a synopsis (it is why I went with the publisher's synopsis as it seems to give away 2/3 of the novel).

It took me a bit to get into the novel as the story takes awhile to heat up. It is one of the reason why there is no real suspense. There was a mystery but even that wasn't mentioned as much as I thought it would. BUT I am glad I stuck with it as I dis enjoy Young's writing and her intentions from this novel. While her characters seem either very harsh and out for themselves or quiet pushovers - I did not feel any connection - good or bad towards them. I am interested in seeing what Young writes next...I will try not to have expectations of a certain genre.

***I received an eARC from EDELWEISS***

May 19, 2017

The book keeps you reading and the ending is surprising, but you will enjoy the book overall, and maybe want to read it for the second time!

Apr 04, 2017

The book is quite slow and without any major action. Only the last 80 pages captured my interest. Not a fast paced mystery thriller read.

coroboreefarm Mar 06, 2017

In this compelling debut novel by Heather Young, family secrets are connected across the decades, and spun out through two timelines by a death bed journal. A still, cold lake in Minnesota, a missing child and a family haunted by that loss all contribute to the atmosphere and drama in this psychological mystery. The story is revealed through alternating voices that skillfully and slowly draw the reader deeper into the plot with out revealing too much. If you are a Kate Morton fan, this novel may appeal to you.

Feb 14, 2017

Warning: contains spoilers.
I loved the first three quarters of this book. The writing is superb. I even wrote down some quotes in my book of notes, they were that good. I kept wishing the author had a long list of books and that this book wasn't her first. However, in the last quarter of the book, it all falls apart. What promised to be a gentle family saga turns out to be revolting. It becomes about incest, with unnecessary and disturbing descriptions and about two little girls committing acts that were not appropriate for their ages. What they do to Emily is very disturbing and completely unbelievable since they were children themselves. The unraveling of the mystery was totally depressing and was a compete let-down for me. It left me with a bad taste in my mouth and I don't know if I ever want to read another book by Heather Young.

DBRL_ANNEG Dec 22, 2016

Sad story of the long term effects of a missing child on a family. Kind of in the vein of the storytelling that Kate Morton does, with a back and forth between the past and the present. The present day characters aren't terribly likable, which isn't always necessary for good storytelling, but which kind of detracted from this one for me (although it certainly does fit in with the long-term effects of the tragedy of the storyline when I stop and think about it.) This author shows some promise with her storytelling, so I will look for more work from her in the future.

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