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Mystery Books - Harriet Lane - Her: A Novel

Her: A Novel
Click to buy at Amazon
Her
Harriet Lane
Little, Brown and Company 2015

 

Her, is a very interesting mystery novel by Harriet Lane.  

It centres around two women and their unique perspectives and perceptions of the events that connect their lives.

Emma is the traditional stay at home wife of Ben, and the loving but often frazzled and exhausted mother of two young children: Christopher, and their new baby Cecily.  Emma is the innocent, and completely in the dark.

Nina, likewise married, is the mother of a disengaging teenager.  An artist, she is by far the more complicated and interesting of the two.  She seems genuine and helpful on the surface, but in truth, she is all manipulation and deceit.  Unknown to everyone, her every action is carefully planned and orchestrated, from her first 'accidental' encounter with Emma, to their unusual meeting, to connecting with Emma's children, and building the budding friendship between the two women.  

Nina is a stalker.  Her two-faced persona is chilling.

Nina brings out fleeting, yet not quite definable memories in Emma, which appear as a vague sense of familiarity.  The women have a connection that Emma fails to recognize.  (This reader is unsure why not.)

What is behind Nina's obsessive interest in Emma?  That is the heart of this intriguing mystery.

Her is well written.  It draws you in and carries you along.  You want to discover the truths that are hidden within the pages.  The problem is, they are hidden too well.

 

SPOILER ALERT   SPOILER ALERT  SPOILER ALERT

 

 This reader is never exactly sure what the historical connection between the two women actually is, beyond their briefly knowing each other in their young past.  Their connection is significant, certainly to Nina, however the author uses far too much subtlety, and not enough direct information.  She leaves crucial questions unanswered, which is why I read this novel from front to back, then back to front, searching for clues that may have been overlooked.  The problem is, only Nina knows what motivates her, and unfortunately, she's not a “tell-all” kind of woman.

Likewise, the chilling ending was abrupt, strange and unexpected.  It left the reader with a good idea of what happened, but no explanation why.

Her is generally a good book, but it is disappointing that the mystery is presented and maintained in such a cryptic manner.

Harriet Lane's writing is good quality.  She knows how to get and hold your attention, while delving and developing her characters psyches.  However, more clarity and a bit of editing would have made this generally very interesting book much better.


J Curran

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