Your daughter went missing twenty years ago. Now, she’s finally back. You thought she had returned a few times in the past, and your husband tells you she’s not the one, but you feel it in your bones. Now, what will you do to keep her home?
Twenty years ago, Myra Barkley’s daughter disappeared from the rocky beach across from the family inn, off the Oregon coast. Ever since, Myra has waited at the front desk for her child to come home. One rainy afternoon, the miracle happens–her missing daughter, now twenty-eight years old with a child of her own, walks in the door.
Elizabeth Lark is on the run with her son. She’s just killed her abusive husband and needs a place to hide. Against her better judgment, she heads to her hometown and stops at the Barkley Inn. When the innkeeper insists that Elizabeth is her long lost daughter, the opportunity for a new life, and more importantly, the safety of her child, is too much for Elizabeth to pass up. But she knows that she isn’t the Barkleys’s daughter, and the more deeply intertwined she becomes with the family, the harder it becomes to confess the truth.
Except the Barkley girl didn’t just disappear on her own. As the news spreads across the small town that the Barkley girl has returned, Elizabeth suddenly comes into the limelight in a dangerous way, and the culprit behind the disappearance those twenty years ago is back to finish the job.
My review – spoilerfree
Call Me Elizabeth Lark starts off perfectly. The first chapter is very intriguing and vague. It’s well written and just the perfect start for a thriller. The book keeps being intriguing the entire way through. As a reader you want to know how all these characters and events are connected and why certain characters do certain things. That should be a given for a thriller, but there are quite a few thrillers out there who can’t keep on being intriguing the entire way through, but Call Me Elizabeth Lark is not one of those.
However, where the book does a great job at giving you the feeling there is so much more to the story than you expect, it doesn’t do a very well job of giving you information. It’s not that it doesn’t give you the information you need, it just feels like the author is not certain which information she should give at what time and how she should present it to you. Some very important information is just thrown in the storyline without much elaboration, even though you as a reader need that. And then there are other reveals that are being elaborated too much and those reveals don’t need that.
On top of that it felt like the author sometimes didn’t know which information she had already given. Some scenes felt odly repetitive, a bit like a déjà vu. Certain scenes appeared to be in the book twice, but just a tat different so you weren’t 100% certain whether or not you had already read that scene. However that could be because I read the ARC (advanced reader’s copy), so I’m hoping those double scenes won’t end up in the final copy of the book.
Another weakness of this book are the time jumps. In between chapters, or sometimes in the middle of chapters, there are time jumps. However, those were often times not very clear. So sometimes when you started reading another chapter or paragraph you as reader thought the characters were still at the same place and time, but then it was a week later all of a sudden and you only discovered that a few pages in to the chapter or a halfway through the paragraph. That brought a lot of confusion about the time and it also makes for a constant questioning feeling of whether or not there was a time jump between chapters and paragraphs.
The last thing that can bother quite a few readers is that characters sometimes really acted out of character. The best example, without spoilers, is Elizabeth’s child Theo. The child is five years old but sometimes really sounds like an adult. More than once you have Theo comforting his mother as if she’s his child, instead of the other way around. And that just felt really awkward. Five year olds can be smart, but they don’t sound like adults when they’re smart, they still sound like children.
Overall Call Me Elizabeth Lark is quite the enjoyable read and a true page turner because of how intriguing it is. You’ll especially enjoy this book if you love bingewatching true crime about unsolved missing (children’s) cases.
*I was provided with a review copy through Netgalley. Thanks a lot to the publisher & author. However, that doesn’t influence my opinion or the things said in this review.*