Alexandra Burt seems like a story destined for the big screen.
Why do I say this?
It's a page-turning mystery.
A young woman wakes up in a hospital after a horrendous car accident. She has no memory of the accident. Even worse, she doesn't know what's happened to her infant daughter. Was Mia kidnapped? Is Mia dead? Will this young mother every be able to remember what happened to Mia?
If 27-year-old Estelle Paradise were a real person, I would just want to shake her until I could knock some sense into her. Most people would be rejoicing when they become a parent. But seven-month-old Mia is anything but a joy to Estelle. Mia is an annoying, crying thing that is zapping all of Estelle's time and energy. Her husband, Jack, is never around and when he is he just wishes Estelle would snap out of her funky mood. No one can see what an annoying, crying thing Mia is except for Estelle. There are moments when she wishes she could silence Mia forever. Maybe by taking that pair of scissors and piercing her soft skull? It sounds so morbid, but Estelle actually has these thoughts. I cringed reading those parts, and it wasn't easy controlling my facial expressions while reading this on the train!
The day Mia disappears is a baffling one. All of her bottles, diapers, and clothes are completely gone from the apartment. There is no evidence that a baby was ever in Estelle's apartment. What happened to Mia? Estelle doesn't act like a grief-stricken mom. She doesn't call her mother right away. She doesn't call the police right away. Somehow she ends up in a car accident, miles and miles away from her home. Was she trying to hide something? Was she trying to run away from something?
Each chapter offers a deeper insight into Estelle's psyche. One moment she comes across as just an overwhelmed mother. The next moment she comes across as a total psycho. A large chunk of the book takes place in a psychiatric hospital -- Estelle's last hope at recapturing her lost memories. Every fragment is key to solving a larger puzzle. Everything has a meaning. Every little piece is key to the overall memory. Estelle has to want to remember. She has to want to remember Mia. I was entertained from start to finish. This wasn't an easy puzzle to solve. Many times I thought, it's too easy for everything to be Estelle's fault. What about Jack? How could he not be involved in this? It would be very easy for him to blame the crazy wife for Mia's disappearance. But maybe Jack isn't the source of all this evil. Maybe Estelle is really crazy? Maybe some mysterious person is at fault? What happened to Mia and who was responsible? I can't tell you that, you will just have to read it! Anyway you slice it, this was a thrilling read from end to end!
Notes: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Berkley) in exchange for an honest review. Come back tomorrow for a guest post by author Alexandra Burt!