Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.
Today’s feature is a recent download: Whistle in the Dark, by Emma Healey, is a wry, poignant, and masterfully drawn story that explores the bonds and duress of family life, the pain of mental illness, and the fraught yet enduring connection between mothers and daughters…
Intro: (The end)
“This has been the worst week of my life,” Jen said. Not what she had planned to say to her fifteen-year-old daughter after an ordeal that had already covered four days.
“Hi, Mum.” Lana’s voice emerged from blue-tinged lips.
Teaser: “I just don’t see why you won’t talk to anyone, Lana,” Meg was saying, as Jen walked in. “Have you done something bad? Something illegal? Did you hurt someone? Are you ashamed?” She had her back to the sitting-room door, but had surely heard her mother come in (p. 56).
Synopsis: Jen and Hugh Maddox have just survived every parent’s worst nightmare.
Relieved, but still terrified, they sit by the hospital bedside of their fifteen-year-old daughter, Lana, who was found bloodied, bruised, and disoriented after going missing for four days during a mother-daughter vacation in the country. As Lana lies mute in the bed, unwilling or unable to articulate what happened to her during that period, the national media speculates wildly and Jen and Hugh try to answer many questions.
Where was Lana? How did she get hurt? Was the teenage boy who befriended her involved? How did she survive outside for all those days? Even when she returns to the family home and her school routine, Lana only provides the same frustrating answer over and over: “I can’t remember.”
For years, Jen had tried to soothe the depressive demons plaguing her younger child, and had always dreaded the worst. Now she has hope—the family has gone through hell and come out the other side. But Jen cannot let go of her need to find the truth. Without telling Hugh or their pregnant older daughter Meg, Jen sets off to retrace Lana’s steps, a journey that will lead her to a deeper understanding of her youngest daughter, her family, and herself.
I loved the author’s previous book, Elizabeth Is Missing, so I was eager to grab this one. What do you think?