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You'll Never Know, Dear by Hallie Ephron

You'll Never Know, Dear

by Hallie Ephron

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Sorrell Woodham runs a doll hospital of sorts, repairing and refreshing dolls brought to her for her tender ministrations. For a time, many years ago, the talented woman was a doll-maker who created several unique portrait dolls. Each distinctive doll resembled the little girl who would own it. Both of her daughters, Lissie and Janey, had their very own “twin” doll.

But Janey and her look-alike doll disappeared without a trace when the little girl was just four years old. Seven-year-old Lissie was supposed to watch her younger sister, but a cute puppy she wanted to pet distracted her from her sister-watching. Lissie, now grown and with a daughter of her own, has never been able to forgive herself for what she views as her fault for her sister’s abduction.

Each year, on the anniversary of Janey’s disappearance, Lis’s mother, Miss Sorrell, places an ad in the newspapers. Along with a picture of Janey’s one-of-a-kind portrait doll is an offer of a generous reward for the return of the doll. But in all the years she has had the ad published, no one ever brought her the doll and claimed the reward.

Until this year.

After forty years, Janey’s doll has finally come home. But will the doll’s reappearance open the door to finding the answers about what happened to the little girl all those years ago? Or will the doll’s return signal a revelation no one could ever have anticipated?

The setting for this suspense-filled novel is the fictional town of Bonsecours, South Carolina, a southern location so integral to the story that it becomes a character itself. And the dolls, central to the narrative, add a slightly cringe-worthy creepiness to the chilling tale. But the doll-making details add a unique element to the story as they draw the reader further into Miss Sorrell’s world.
Each clearly-defined character is well-developed and brings believability to the story. Especially noteworthy are the spot-on details of Miss Sorrell’s behavior as she was “getting through the day” after her young daughter disappeared and her subsequent ways of dealing with the loss of her child.

As the story unfolds, unexpected events ramp up the suspense, keeping the pages turning in this unputdownable book. Astute readers may be able to resolve the mystery of Janey’s disappearance before the story’s unexpected reveal, but this page-turner will be impossible to set aside.

Highly recommended. ( )
  jfe16 | May 20, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062473611, Hardcover)

An addictive novel of psychological suspense from the award-winning author of Night Night, Sleep Tight, about three generations of women haunted by a little girl’s disappearance, and the porcelain doll that may hold the key to the truth . . .

Seven-year-old Lissie Woodham and her four-year-old sister Janey were playing with their porcelain dolls in the front yard when an adorable puppy scampered by. Eager to pet the pretty dog, Lissie chased after the pup as it ran down the street. When she returned to the yard, Janey’s precious doll was gone . . . and so was Janey.

Forty years after Janey went missing, Lis—now a mother with a college-age daughter of her own—still blames herself for what happened. Every year on the anniversary of her sister’s disappearance, their mother, Miss Sorrel, places a classified ad in the local paper with a picture of the toy Janey had with her that day—a one-of-a-kind porcelain doll—offering a generous cash reward for its return. For years, there’s been no response. But this year, the doll came home.

It is the first clue in a decades-old mystery that is about to turn into something far more sinister—endangering Lis and the lives of her mother and daughter as well. Someone knows the truth about what happened all those years ago, and is desperate to keep it hidden.

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 05 Mar 2017 11:55:43 -0500)

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