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Looking for Charlotte
By Jennifer Young
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Release Date: April 22, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Suspense
Length: 306 Pages (100,810 words 2253 KB)
About the book:
Divorced and lonely, Flora Wilson is distraught when she hears news of the death of little Charlotte Anderson. Charlotte’s father killed her and then himself, and although he left a letter with clues to her grave, his two-year-old daughter still hasn’t been found. Convinced that she failed her own children, now grown up and seldom at home, Flora embarks on a quest to find Charlotte’s body to give the child’s mother closure, believing that by doing so she can somehow atone for her own failings.
As she hunts in winter through the remote moors of the Scottish Highlands, her obsession comes to challenge the very fabric of her life — her job, her friendship with her colleague Philip Metcalfe, and her relationships with her three children.
ExcerptShe thought she knew the place where Alastair Anderson had left his car, and found it easily enough. Under her fingers the map was a flat web of never-parallel lines, of ugly pock-marking that told of steep, loose rocks and inhospitable terrain, just the type of place they used to walk. Somewhere up here, Charlotte Anderson was buried. Carried there, already dead? Or walked there and then killed? Surely neither was realistic; surely they would have found her, with their dogs and their mountain rescue helicopters scouring the ground for new scars, and all the rest of the equipment they had at their disposal.Looking at the map had been a mistake. It was obvious now. Besides, she couldn’t see it any more; all she could see was the image of Suzanne Beauchamp, that beautiful face with the cold façade, like a wax death mask from Madame Tussaud’s. More poignant, of course, since it must hide a struggle, a struggle to conceal or to suppress a deadly mixture of grief and guilt.‘Go away!’ she said softly to this mirage of a grieving woman, a little afraid of its power. ‘Go away!’ And then, in the only defence left to her, she began to fold the map away.
About Jennifer Young
I live in Edinburgh and I write romance and contemporary women’s fiction. I’ve been writing all my life and my first book was published in February 2014, though I’ve had short stories published before then. The thing that runs through all my writing is an interest in the world around me. I love travel and geography and the locations of my stories is always important to me. And of course I love reading — anything and everything.
A mixture of literary fiction and light romantic suspense, Looking for Charlotte by Jennifer Young is a book you won’t want to put down. Told in first person point of view, by two women separated by twenty or more years in age, this story is about loss, moving on and making choices for the future. Using an issue that’s become much too common in the news, a parent killing a child, Ms. Young reminds us that even when the sun goes down and the night is at its darkest moment, the sun will rise and bring a new dawn.
Ms. Young does a great job developing both Flora Wilson and Suzanne Anderson’s characters; two women who never meet but share similar backgrounds and in their own way are at a crossroad in their life. While it is the loss of Suzanne’s child, Charlotte, that takes both of these women on an emotional journey, and in Flora’s case a physical journey, it’s their inner emotional strength and determination to get closure that binds them together. I easily connected with both Flora and Suzanne and rooted for them both to succeed. I wanted Flora to locate little Charlotte’s body so that she could give Suzanne what every mother who has lost a child needs, the opportunity to hold or look at their child for the last time, and I wanted both women to be able to move on.Ms. Young also does a good job with the secondary characters in the story and I really found myself liking Phillip, Flora’s co-worker and friend. A man who, with the right encouragement, might become more. I also enjoyed meeting her younger sister (who married well and doesn’t’ have to worry about things romantically or financially), and reading about her relationship with her adult children, though I think she should have given them a good swift kick to the pants for their poor behavior.
I also enjoyed getting to meet Suzanne’s family and it was interesting to see how she interacted with her mother, Marsha. I also enjoyed meeting Suzanne’s friends and reading about her experiences dealing with them after her loss. The mystery of where Suzanne’s now deceased husband buried their daughter was very well developed and took several twists and turns. I can’t even begin to imagine what kind of selfish monster would do that to someone they once claimed to love. The story’s pace is steady and Ms. Young’s writing style is easy and enjoyable to follow, even when dealing with two characters in first person point of view.Will Flora be able to locate Charlotte’s body and give Suzanne the physical closure she needs? Will both Flora and Suzanne grab onto the future and the hope it can bring them both? You’ll have to read Looking for Charlotte to find out, I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of Ms. Young’s work. This was the first book I’ve read by her and it definitely won’t be the last.
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Crowns + Recommended Read