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If You Knew Her by Emily Elgar

If You Knew Her

by Emily Elgar

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  teenie-k | Aug 8, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I have to start with saying, the ending of this book gutted me. It was emotional, I wanted a different ending for the characters I grew to like yet somehow it was the perfect ending.

Alice is a nurse at a hospital, one that works with comatose patients, and she is a lovely, caring woman. You can really get behind this character, have empathy for her in both her professional and personal life.

The story is told from several points of view bringing us different perspectives and information about what’s going on. We have the nursing staff with Alice, Mary and Lizzie. Later in the book you want to throttle Lizzie (you’ll see). They interact with these comatose patients, nursing them, comforting them and hoping for improvement. We read about several of the patients, some in a passing reference because they are moved to another facility or they die. The two main comatose patients are Cassie, a woman brought into the ward after a hit and run, and Frank, a stroke victim.

There are also supporting “cast members” – Cassie’s husband Jack and her mother-in-law Charlotte, Cassie’s best friend Nicky, her step-father Marcus and her neighbor Jonny.

Frank is an alcoholic and one of the long term patients on the ward. While the doctors think he is in a PVS (permanent vegetative state) he is actually aware of what’s going on around him. He can’t speak, blink, move a finger to let people know he’s locked in. What a nightmare. From his point of view we learn about his previous life, the love for his daughter Lucy and what it’s like being an alcoholic. He describes addition: The addiction “pounced on me when I lost my job, it pounced on me when Ange (his wife) finally chucked him out. After that it seemed to take up residence within me, switching places with the man I tried to be, consigning Frank to the shadows, meek and withered as the beats gnawed my bones, sucking out the marrow of my life every bottle of whisky…..” Great descriptions.

Cassie’s story has it’s twists and turns. She clearly misses her deceased mother April, she loves Jack but is sometimes distant from him and her best friend Nicky is like a sister. One day she witnesses something that changes her life (don't want to give spoilers). Shortly afterwards she is stuck by a car, obviously on purpose (that’s in the beginning) and left for dead. You come to wonder if she was targeted by her husband, best friend or step-father. The story builds up as we learn more about our supporting cast. I had my assumptions about what happened with Cassie but the end still surprised me. I liked reading about Cassie and her life before she went into a coma.

While food was mentioned here and there, and I will note it because…I do write about books and food….it’s not a celebratory book to enjoy a meal. It starts out interesting but near the end this plot grabs you by the collar and demands your attention. Emotional ride here at the end. Ok so, there was:

Salmon fillets, salad and new potatoes and wine.
Homemade jam, lasagna
Croissants, prosciutto, melon and freshly squeezed orange juice

(Photos of food at Novel Meals)

I would recommend this author and I will most certainly look for her future publications. Well done, Emily Elgar, as you had me shed a tear at the end.
Great wrap-up.

I won a copy of this book from LibraryThing. ( )
  SquirrelHead | Mar 5, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Appearances can be so deceiving. Alice is the head nurse on a constant care ward. Frank, one of her patients is thought to be a hopeless case, unresponsive, in a vegetative state, only Alice believes Frank is in there somewhere. Cassie, a young woman is in a coma, a victim of a hit and run. Her husband and mother in law are devastated, and then there is a further revelation that sends them reeling.

I thought this was quite well done. Alternating chapters send us back into the past of Cassie and Jack, into Frank's thoughts and Alice's life and what she finds out about Cassie's life. Well written tightly plotted, steadily paced, unique unveiling of the story. For me, one of the better novels in this genre. Although I figured out most of the reveals before the denoument, it didn't affect my enjoyment of the rest of the story. Knew the who, but not the why. A solid read. ( )
1 vote Beamis12 | Mar 2, 2018 |
If You Knew Her is Emily Elgar's debut novel.

Cassie Jensen is out walking her dog late at night when she is struck by a car. She lands in an intensive care unit under the watch of Nurse Alice. Also in the ward is a patient named Frank, locked into his body, unable to communicate that he can hear and see. And as family and friends stop by the ward to see Cassie, Alice gets the feeling that something just isn't quite right. And Frank? Oh, Frank knows something isn't right - but he has no way of telling anyone.

What a great premise! We learn more about what led to this moment from Cassie's memories. There are two other POVs - Alice and Frank's. Bit by bit, the story is pieced together. Those rotating POVs had me listening to just one more chapter late into the night, seeing if I could guess the final whodunit. And guess what? I didn't! I love not being able to guess the final reveal. Each chapter does add to the mystery plot, but also explores each character's personal life though a development in the present.

I chose to listen to If You Knew Her. The reader was Katey Stobey. I quite enjoyed her voice. It's pleasant to listen to, easy to understand and I thought she interpreted Elgar's work well. Her inflections and tones match the content and characters well. This was a clever debut and I can't wait to read what Elgar writes next! ( )
  Twink | Feb 27, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A gripping story of mystery when Cassie Jensen is admitted to the intensive care ward after being hit by a car and left for dead. Also, in the same ward is Frank, who has locked-in syndrome (can see and hear everything but cannot move). The head nurse Alice tends to these patients and becomes amateur sleuth when Cassie’s hit and run is more than what it seems. Told in each of these three characters’ point of view in rotating chapters, we learn so much about them. Although, not a fast paced novel, it does have some suspense and certainly an incredible climax. ( )
  grumpydan | Feb 27, 2018 |
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"When young, beautiful Cassie Jensen arrives at the intensive care ward of St. Catherine's hospital after being struck by a hit-and-run driver while out walking her dog, chief nurse Alice Marlowe thinks she looks familiar. She starts obsessively digging deeper into Cassie's relationships, only to discover a secret that her patient has been keeping from everyone, including her devoted husband and family. Frank, a patient on the same ward who has locked-in syndrome, can hear and see everything around him but cannot speak. Soon he comes to understand that Cassie's life is still in danger. While the police continue to look for clues, Frank knows the truth, but he's unable to communicate it. As Frank's resolve deepens, and Alice puts her own career on the line in her single-minded search for answers, the reader will get closer and closer to the truth of who Cassie Jensen was, and why she was out on the road that fateful night"--Dust jacket flap.… (more)

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