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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Gothic-y Psychological Thriller a Riveting Page Turner

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

After a terrible mistake which left her traumatized and with a young, equally scarred son to care for, 33-year-old Tess Henshaw is back in little Rock Harbor, Maine.  Now teaching English at the same prep school she attended as a young woman, Tess is married to a respected man who's also an instructor at the school.  Always a moody, complicated kid, Tess's son Rudy, now 17, is living on-campus and seems to be happier than he has been in a very long time.  With her comfortable, stable life, Tess' tumultuous past feels like ancient history—just the way she likes it.

Then, an early morning text from Rudy shatters Tess' perfect life.  Without waking her husband, she races to the rescue of her trembling son, who's soaking wet, practically mute, and has a stain on his hoodie that looks an awful lot like blood.  A few hours later, she gets an even more shocking message—the body of Rudy's girlfriend, Lila Zeller, has just been found near the place where Tess had gone to pick up Rudy.  As the police investigate the suspicious death, Rudy becomes a suspect as does Tess' husband, Harmon.  Frantic to clear both of their names without implicating either, Tess finds herself lying to authorities and spilling secrets from her own past in a desperate effort to keep her entire world from falling completely apart.  Although Tess can't believe her son capable of such a heinous crime, she's plagued by the question everyone is asking:  What really happened the night Lila died?

I'm always up for a compelling psychological thriller, especially a moody, broody one with deliciously Gothic undertones.  These are Carol Goodman's bread and butter and I, for one, am always eager to sup at her table!  While her newest, The Sea of Lost Girls, isn't my favorite Goodman novel (that would be The Widow's House), it's still a tense, twisty tale that kept me glued to the page.  True, I saw the killer coming, but that didn't keep me from reading this one fast and furious.  Even though it's depressing, the characters aren't super likable, and their actions don't always make sense, I still enjoyed The Sea of Lost Girls overall.   

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other novels by Carol Goodman)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a few F-bombs, plus milder expletives), violence, disturbing subject matter, and references to underage drinking and illegal drug use

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. "Even though it's depressing, the characters aren't super likable, and their actions don't always make sense, I still enjoyed The Sea of Lost Girls overall."

    No one can say that your review is not honest and frank, that's for sure. :-)

  2. I have read a number of Goodman's books over the years, but not this one or Widow's House.

  3. I usually really like Carol Goodman's books, but the plot of this one just doesn't appeal to me.

  4. I'm a big fan of Carol Goodman's books too and have this one - but...I haven't read it as yet. I probably won't for a while. Like Sam, your last sentence stood out to me and it made me laugh. We'll see how I fare when I do read it. I loved The Widow's House too.

  5. Sounds like another interesting thriller!

  6. I read this one and thought it was just okay. I do like this author.

  7. So many of these thrillers look good!


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