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4.3 out of 5
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  • 2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

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    The ultimate dysfunctional family

    Emma and Cass Tanner were sisters who disappeared 3 years ago when they were 17 and 15. All clues indicate that Emma is dead but no one knows what happened to Cass. Now she is back saying that Emma is still on the island. Dr Abby Winters, a forensic psychologist with problems of her own, is working with the FBI again as she worked the disappearance 3 years ago. She has always felt that things as not as they appear with the family. As Cass reveals thing slowly, Abby realizes that Cass is leading them on a journey and the only way to find Emma is to go along for the ride. For me, that journey moved rather slowly at first and was a little hard to follow. To call Cass’s family dysfunctional would be a major understatement. None of the characters was particularly likeable. I felt as frustrated as Abby by the way the story was unfolding. As the story progressed I became more invested in finding out what happened to Emma. Everything ties together nicely in the end in rather surprising fashion. This book was more psychological than suspenseful and dealt with many issues including love, jealousy, secrets, lies, revenge and mental illness. It was an interesting read that just missed greatness for me. Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press and Wendy Walker for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Masterfully Crafted and Life Changing

    Cass and Emma Tanner are the famous sisters that mysteriously disappeared three years ago. Now, only Cass has returned. What happened to Emma? That's exactly what Dr. Abby Winter is going to find out. What she has discovered in the last three years since the girls vanished and her investigation begun is one thing: nothing is what it seems. Dr. Abby Winter knows firsthand how traumatizing it can be to have a childhood ruled by a narcissistic mother. That is what got her into this line of work in the first place. But can she keep her past from clouding her judgement in the present? I loved this book and found it masterfully created. Each chapter ended with a cliffhanger that made me as a reader want to read "just one more chapter" for several chapters. It was told in alternating perspectives between Cass and Abby (Dr. Winter) which I thought enhanced the story as it gave deeper perspective into both characters as well as gave different views on the supporting characters. To be more personal than I have been in any of my previous reviews, I cannot explain well enough to give it justice just how immensely tied to this book I was. I had to put it down some chapters because it related too well to my childhood with a narcissistic mother that too much of it in one sitting could be overwhelming. Fortunately, I were raised mostly by my (selfless, hilarious, and dedicated) father so I did not have the damages quite as bad as these girls, but the scars are still there. Time does not actually heal all wounds. Some scars will always remain, even if they are hidden just under the surface. There are variances with every family and experience with any personality disorder. Yet there were pages and pages that I kept highlighting and excitedly screaming out "YES! Exactly!". It was fascinating to see what I experienced play out in a fictional tale. The quote that I had to read over and over because it was accurate, relatable, and glaringly honest was: "Mrs. Martin had never been punished for anything she had ever done. She was a master illusionist. Even people trained to see, even people looking for exactly what was there to be seen, could still not see". I am immensely pleased that Wendy Walker had the courage and skill to take this topic of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and create a story that is masterful regardless of if a reader has had an experience with it. There has only been one other book that I have read on this topic several years ago, Dr. Karyl McBride's Will I Ever Be Good Enough?. This book was nonfiction and absolutely changed my life because it put the facts of Narcissistic Mothers in my face and helped me learn how to cope and live my own life. If you are someone who has gone through an experience with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, particularly with a Narcissistic mother, I highly recommend both Will I Ever Be Good Enough? and Emma in the Night. You should also know that you are not alone! I would also recommend this book for those readers who are fans of surprise twists as there are several. Furthermore, the ending is unexpected, twisted, and genius. For those who may be offended: there was foul language, sexually explicit scenarios, drug use, alcohol use, infidelity, incest, and child abuse. Please note: an electronic copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Revenge Lives

    Intense informative telling of Narcissism! Walker tells of two sisters living in the shadow of their mother's psychosis of vanity, self-love, and self-admiration. What happens when siblings are made to compete for their mothers' notice while forced to feed her flowery words at every turn? This crime mystery involves a disappearance, kidnapping, or suicide of Emma and Cassandra Tanner. Where were they and why were they taken is explored by the FBI Forensic Psychologist Abigail Winter. Three years later Cass knocks on her mothers's door with a plea to help find Emma. Leads are again delved into aided this time by Cass' clues. Sinister story with many twists and turns leading to an amazing conclusion. "A copy of this was supplied by St. Martin's Press and author via NetGalley with no requirement for a review. Opinion here is my honest opinion."
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    Not what I expected

    Emma in the Night wasn't at all what I expected and I wouldn't quite call it a thriller. When I read a thriller, I expect to be on the edge of my seat, dying to know what happens next. I was interested and the story was suspenseful, but the story was a bit slow and even dry at times. That said, it was oddly compelling and certainly disturbing. Considering their parents and upbringing, Emma and Cass were almost doomed to be at a little messed up. In a not exactly successfully blended family, the only person that I found to be remotely normal was the oldest brother, Witt. The story is not only twisted, but there are plenty of twists and turns as it progresses, which is something I look forward to in a psychological tale. I was left scratching my head at times with Cass' recounting of her time away as it seemed to become more and more convoluted. By the end, her motivations were made clear, but even now, as I ponder the story, I'm not exactly clear about the way she went about it all. The biggest drawback for me was the switch in point of view. Throughout the book, we hear from two people, Cass and Dr. Abigail Winter. Cass' chapters are all in first person, while Abby's are in third. My first thought was that it was done to help show Cass' frame of mind during the seven days following her return home, but Abby's chapters also reveal her own thoughts about Cass and the family during that time. The switches from chapter to chapter took some getting used to and in all honesty, I found it to be more of a distraction than anything beneficial to the story. Overall, Walker does have a unique writing style and the story had potential, but it just didn't quite live up to expectations. It's not a bad read, but turned out to be merely an okay one for me.
9

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