RaveCriminal ElementThe story is set against the backdrop of Bonsecour—a fictitious stand-in for Beaufort, South Carolina. The antebellum architecture, live oaks, and dripping moss are as much characters in the book as the people that populate its pages; not only does this serve to create an atmosphere of charm and gentility but also one where suspicions often go unspoken and are routinely hidden under the guise of good manners. Beyond scenic flourishes, Ephron excels at depicting the dynamics between ordinary women thrust into extraordinary situations. While she’s often told tales of mothers and daughters, this is her first three-generation saga, and the result is a poignant portrayal of how tragedies often have a trickle-down effect, blighting everyone they touch despite the degrees of separation. You’ll Never Know, Dear is a worthy and irresistibly readable addition to the author’s impressive arsenal.
The Good DaughterKarin Slaughter
RaveCriminal ElementSlaughter brilliantly alternates chapters between time periods and perspectives, methodically doling out crucial pieces of information that often shatter long-held assumptions (and the inevitable resentments that accompany those beliefs). Not only does this serve to balance the tension of both storylines, which are grounded as much in emotion as they are in action, but it keeps her characters—and her readers—in a constant state of unrest. The author’s endgame is at once surprising and satisfying, and you can’t help but marvel at the precision of her plotting. The pain of it all is pervasive but also utterly profound—and, at times, poetic. The Good Daughter is a stunning work of psychological suspense that will undoubtedly, and deservedly, rank among the year’s very best (crime) novels. Karin Slaughter has an inimitable style that lends itself to complete immersion, and the absolute sense of realism that she captures within her narrative is both awe-inspiring and gut-wrenching. This one will break your heart a million times over and then put the pieces back together again—or at least some of them.