Mystery/Thriller

How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst

I received this novel as an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Whenever I read a premise where the main character has no recollection of an incident and is just “told” that something happened in a certain way, it makes me roll my eyes. This scenario has been overused so many times that I struggle to see how it can be made unique. However, I thought that this one might just work. Here is my review:

3 years ago, Susan Webster was convicted of murdering her 12-week-old son Dylan. She was sent to Oakdale Psychiatric Institute to serve her sentence, as she was deemed to have suffered from postpartum depression, which caused her to commit this heinous crime. Now, she has been released on parole and given a new identity and name: Emma Cartwright. Just as she is beginning to rebuild her life, she receives an anonymous letter with her former name on it. Inside is a photograph of a toddler named Dylan. Suddenly, Emma starts to question everything she has ever been told. If she has no memory of the murder of her son, then did it really happen? If there was the smallest chance your son was alive, what would you do to get him back?

I wouldn’t say I had high hopes for this novel which is the way I am with all thrillers, but this one was a whole new low. There were so many things about this story that I didn’t like. I really did not like Susan/Emma. While I understand she was stuck in her grief over her child and was confused with the turn of events, she was extremely naive and didn’t show an ounce of intelligence at any point. She behaved in a way that just didn’t make any sense to me – and this includes her ability to fall for every guy that she meets. It made me so annoyed to see her develop an attraction/feelings for someone who she literally met only twice and knows nothing about. Also, considering the circumstance, it really didn’t make sense that she was indulging in romantic fantasies. The story is told from 2 different perspectives: Susan/Emma, and an unknown character named Jack. I have to say that I actually liked Jack’s story more than Susan/Emma’s … even though the former ended up having the smallest part in this novel. The story started to segue into another plot about halfway through, which is a common trend. However, this other direction really made no sense to me. Suddenly, Susan/Emma is pursuing this instead, hoping that it will somehow lead to clues about her son (but how this would even happen when they are two unrelated things, I have no idea). Then at the end of the novel, there is that big reveal…. and it was so disappointing. It was such a failed attempt at trying to tie in 2 plot lines that really didn’t go together. And suddenly, all of these random names were dropping and identities were changing and it just really got too much. I just found myself very disappointed with the entire novel in terms of its story line. I’m giving this a 1/5 stars.

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