June 2, 2009

Review: The Lost Hours

Book Cover

By Karen White
Read my review of THE HOUSE ON TRADD STREET.
Read my interview.

Piper's grandmother has Alzheimer's and has been in a home for awhile. But her grandfather just died, leaving her a charm and some other cryptic pieces to the puzzle that is her grandmother's past. But before she can even try to find out more from her grandmother, she dies as well. Her only key is to search out one of Abigail's closest friends, Lillian. Lillian is ashamed of the past and Piper must work to even meet with her. And there's a complication in her fairly recently widowed grandson, who is learning how to live with his guilt and his daughters.

This doesn't even get into the equestrian issues. There's a lot going on in this book, and it takes awhile to get going. My mother and I both agreed that the grandmother's death was very abrupt, as there is a timeskip in the book but it isn't clearly presented. My mom also helped me realize something else that bothered me about the death. The grandfather's death starts the book and is elaborated upon, but the grandmother's is barely mentioned in the action of the book. Yet THE LOST HOURS is all about Abigail's life and how Piper finds out about it. It seems odd that her death is so ignominious. (One of the other problems with the read wasn't a fault of the text. This was one of those ARCs with lots of typos, but that should be fixed in the final, though I haven't been able to flip through a final to confirm this assertion.)

Once THE LOST HOURS gets going, it is a very interesting read. Okay, it does take too long to read the scrapbook, but the revelations are interesting. Karen White brings the segregated South to life through the eyes of two different young women who aren't prepared for how people will react to their actions. Lillian in particular is a fascinating character. I want to read THE LOST HOURS again to pick more of her apart. Piper's a fine protagonist, but Lillian's more interesting because she's peculiar and enigmatic.

Helen, Lillian's granddaughter, is less intriguing but still a fun character. I liked that she was very functional and competent - moreso than many of the other characters - even though she was blind. (Though I am not the one to ask about how accurate the portrayal of blindness was.) Tucker, her brother and Piper's love interest, felt a little flatter. He served his purpose, but I didn't really connect to him beyond that.

Those looking for a classic whodunit mystery might be disappointed, but I thought the atmosphere and was well-done and the answers to the past satisfying. The beginning of THE LOST HOURS could use work, but it finishes strong. This novel is available now, and the sequel to THE HOUSE ON TRADD STREET, currently title THE GIRL ON LEGARE STREET, should be available in November. White is also the author of many other novels.

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