Book: The Lost Girls
Author: Heather Young
In the summer of 1935, six-year-old Emily Evans vanishes from her family’s vacation home on a remote Minnesota lake. Her disappearance destroys her mother, who spends the rest of her life at the lake house, hoping in vain that her favorite daughter will walk out of the woods. Emily’s two older sisters stay, too, each keeping her own private, decades-long vigil for the lost child.
Sixty years later Lucy, the quiet and watchful middle sister, lives in the lake house alone. Before she dies, she writes the story of that devastating summer in a notebook that she leaves, along with the house, to the only person to whom it might matter: her grandniece, Justine.
For Justine, the lake house offers a chance to escape her manipulative boyfriend and give her daughters the stable home she never had. But it’s not the sanctuary she hoped for. The long Minnesota winter has begun. The house is cold and dilapidated, the frozen lake is silent and forbidding, and her only neighbor is a strange old man who seems to know more than he’s telling about the summer of 1935.
Soon Justine’s troubled oldest daughter becomes obsessed with Emily’s disappearance, her mother arrives with designs on her inheritance, and the man she left behind launches a dangerous plan to get her back. In a house steeped in the sorrows of the women who came before her, Justine must overcome their tragic legacy if she hopes to save herself and her children.-Goodreads
Review: Told in alternating timelines, The Lost Girls follows Justine in present day and Lucy in 1935. Justine is a single mother of two girls who has left her controlling boyfriend and takes her children to her great-aunt's Minnesota lake house, which she recently inherited. In 1935, Lucy (Justine's great aunt) details her summer vacation at the lake house, leading up to Emily's (her 6-year old sister) disappearance.
I'm normally a huge fan of alternating narratives although when there are two distinct time frames, one is typically more enjoyable than the other. In this case...nothing really worked for me. I didn't care for either narrator and both story lines were extremely boring. I think this was well written and the last third of the book certainly picked up the pace, but it was a slow burn that never sparked.