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How Will I Know You?: A Novel by Jessica…

How Will I Know You?: A Novel

by Jessica Treadway

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Teenager Joy disappeared one evening and is presumed drowned in the local lake. However when her body is discovered, the autopsy reveals that she was strangled first and the hunt for her murderer begins. Suspicion quickly falls on a young artist who was the last person seen with Joy but the real tale of what happened to Joy is more complex than that.

I had really enjoyed Treadway's last novel so I picked up this book full of anticipation. On paper it should have been a great story, a mystery set in a small college town in upstate New York, complex family dynamics and unspoken racial undertones, but for some reason I was not gripped in the first couple of chapters. From then on I found the book hard-going but I think that is more about my demeanour than the book itself - Treadway remains an interesting writer. ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Jun 26, 2017 |
Slooooow moving and totally boring to me. I didn't finish it. Who cares who murdered Joy Enright? Not me. ( )
1 vote flourgirl49 | Jun 14, 2017 |
Confession time! I could not finish Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway. I read half the book, and I could not for the life of me enjoy the story. So, I was a bit worried about how this book would turn out. But, I was instantly drawn into this sad and tense story about a young girl that turns up murdered and the impact it has on the community, from her family to her friends not to mention the man accused of killing her.

What I really like about the story is that it moves between the time before and after the murder. Both storylines are intriguing as we get to follow the investigation of the murder at the same time we slowly get a picture of what is going on with and around Joy Enright before she is murdered. I came to like Joy, especially when I found out her big secret, why she was acting so different before she was killed. The book is well written and heartbreakingly sad.

I think this book's strength is that it keeps surprising the reader and that the characters are so well developed with flaws and all. Everything that happens has consequences and that is something that this story really show.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy for an honest review! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Apr 14, 2017 |
Jessica Treadway’s latest novel is another take on the age-old story of the secrets people keep and the problems these secrets cause for others. Told from four different points of view, the story revolves around Joy, her life as seen by others before and after her death. However, as much as Joy is at the center of the novel, How Will I Know You? is not so much a murder mystery as it is a portrait of a small community reeling from the death of one of their own.

The problem with the story told by four different characters is that the ultimate question – who killed Joy – is not one that is answered in a timely fashion. In fact, the answer is almost an aside, shown to provide closure for the reader than for the narrators or town. Then there is the issue of the four narrators themselves. One never really gets a chance to know them. They dive into each of their narratives without providing a clear understanding of their motivations. Some reveal more throughout the course of the novel which does help, but others remain mysteries.

For example, Tom spends much of his time lamenting the cracks in his marriage, the pull of his father-in-law, and his in-laws’ constant presence in his married life. Yet, we never understand why he married his wife in the first place, what prompted him to seek out the daughter of the police chief. We learn he grew up in the same town, so presumably he would have some inkling that he would be marrying not just the daughter but the whole family. There are unanswered whys to Tom’s story that would go a long way to explaining his behavior throughout the novel and his involvement in the drama. The same holds true for Harper and Susanne. Both remain undefined in key ways that make it difficult to find either character sympathetic or interesting.

Ultimately, this lack of definition on the part of the narrators weakens the story. As the rest of the town seeks the culprit and searches for closure, the narrators remain wrapped up in their personal dramas. Their selfishness is not surprising but upsetting all the same. They make Joy’s death about themselves. For Martin, this is understandable given that he is the primary suspect in her murder. For him, Joy’s death is personal. The other narrators, however, spend most of their time justifying their actions, past and present, as if seeking forgiveness for their involvement however circumspect it may be. Given the lack of details and clear definition of their characters, the inward focus of their narrative prevents readers from becoming too involved in the story.

At the end of the day, How Will I Know You? is a forgettable murder mystery that draws too much on the oft-used motif of small town secrets. The four narrators remain ill-defined, even while sharing their personal insights and involvement in Joy’s death, whether they understand their involvement or not. There is a larger cast of characters that remains equally nebulous and adds, thereby adding confusion by making it difficult to differentiate between them. The murder mystery becomes less urgent as each of the narrators worry more about what they are experiencing even while the murder mystery is what keeps people reading the novel. In her focus on the inner workings of subsidiary characters, Ms. Treadway provides no fresh insight on the secrets theme, dooming her novel to a bland obscurity.
  jmchshannon | Jan 5, 2017 |
I have to admit that it took me awhile to really get into this book. I found it too easy to put down for the first half. However, once everyone in the house was asleep and the television was finally off (my husband has never found a sport he couldn't watch!), I fell into the story and finished the book. The story goes from present time to before time in this novel about the death of a high school senior, Joy Enright. As the murder investigation progresses, we learn the back story from four characters; Joy's mother, a teacher at a small college; Martin, a graduate student; Tom, a rescue diver and son-in-law of the police chief and Harper, Joy's previous best friend. This all takes place in a small town where everyone knows everyone else's secrets. It shows how easily it can be to find yourself in a hole from seemingly small bad choices which can quickly grow out of control. ( )
  Dianekeenoy | Jan 3, 2017 |
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