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You'll Never Know, Dear by Hallie Ephron

You'll Never Know, Dear

by Hallie Ephron

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Whatever you want to call this – mystery, thriller, psychological suspense – You’ll Never Know, Dear fits the bill. Three generations of women in a small town Georgia family are existing on the income earned from the matriarch’s doll-making and repair enterprise and their memories of the day a young sister was kidnapped with her own custom doll. When a clue finally arrives, so do the beginnings of fear, as danger begins to surround them. As the strings tighten around the women, the missing girl’s now-grown sister begins to find the answers to the knots in the mystery and to untangle them.

I thought Hallie Ephron wrote a tight mystery with characters who felt real to their circumstances. Learning a bit about doll-making was an extra perk. ( )
  countrylife | Apr 3, 2018 |
You’ll Never Know, Dear by Hallie Ephron is a 2017 William Morrow publication.

Deceptively addicting-

Three generations of women work to find the answer to a forty- year old puzzle in which the biggest, most important clue is a priceless porcelain doll.

Miss Sorrel, is a doll maker and collector, who at one time had a booming doll making business and made a name for herself among collectors. But, the doll that means the most to her, the one she is always in constant search of, is the one that disappeared along with her daughter, Janey forty years ago.

Lissie never got over the disappearance of her younger sister and always blamed herself for what happened. The incident has haunted her all her life, even through marriage, divorce, and motherhood.

Vanessa is Lissie’s only child, a sleep/dream researcher who returns home after her grandmother has a health scare. Little does she know her area of expertise will come into play while she is there.

With all three generations now under one roof, the women are ready to seriously consider the possibility that Janey’s doll has found its way back to them and that the doors of the decades old cold case are about to blow wide open.

I thought the cover of this book was a little creepy, and the title was intriguing. While the missing child theme is hardly a new one, I always find this to be a compelling storyline, and also falls within my favorite mystery trope- the cold case.

This book also appealed to me in a way because my grandmother made her own ceramics, and on occasion made porcelain dolls, as a hobby. Not only that, my daughter had a nice doll collection we displayed behind glass when she was younger, so I could understand the value and work that goes into the making of these dolls.

The mystery is intriguing, and kept me interested, and guessing for a good while, but I did guess who was behind the kidnapping before it was revealed. Still, I couldn’t figure out the motive, so there was still an element of mystery to keep me invested in the story. There were a few too many conveniences, and for some reason the dream thread didn’t do anything for me.

But, I did like the way it all came together in the end, although one may have to suspend belief a little for it to work. However, the feel good, grab a tissue, emotional parts won me over, causing me to overlook a few implausibilities.

I’ve never read anything by this author, so didn’t have any expectations one way or another, but I liked this book well enough to give the author’s other work a try. Even though it wobbles here and there, I enjoyed the book, overall. ( )
  gpangel | Mar 11, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A doll is returned to Miss Sorrel after vanishing 30+ years ago along with her toddler daughter.
This book was OK. Very systematic writing. There was a surprise or two but nothing earth shattering. I couldn't get into the story and the characters didn't appeal to me but in interest of fairness, I am in a reading slump and forced myself to finish it. ( )
  cal8769 | Feb 6, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The blurb for this book makes it sound like a suspense novel and the cover with the creepy doll is also pretty sinister. Unfortunately, the book didn't live up to either the blurb or the cover. It's not a thriller, it's really women's fiction about mothers/daughters/sisters (to such an extent that there are only a handful of men in the book and only one of them appears on more than 2 pages, even the dog is female).

The story is about a toddler who went missing almost forty years ago. Her custom-made doll disappeared at the same time and the doll has now been delivered to the toddler's mother by a young woman looking for the promised $5,000 reward. You can probably guess most of the rest of the story from here. I was hoping for something more suspenseful, atmospheric and unpredictable.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. ( )
  fhudnell | Oct 4, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Forty years ago the Sorrel family was struck by tragedy when the youngest daughter, Janey, went missing. Lissie, the oldest daughter, was seven-years-old on the day it happened. She was outside with Janey playing with their porcelain dolls in the front yard when a black and white puppy showed up and drew Lissie to chase after him. After recently losing her own dog, Lissie desperately wanted to play with this one and left Janey in the yard as she took off after it. When Lissie finally returned Janey, along with her doll, was gone.

Present day finds us with Lissie, who now goes by Lis, a woman who a number of years ago moved back her hometown and in with her mother. After a rocky divorce many years ago Lis returned with her daughter to the town she did not want to be in and has built herself a new life. Now that her daughter, Vanessa, has moved away for college, Lis is slowly trying to rebuild her self-confidence, but cannot stop blaming herself for what happened to Janey all those years ago. Their mother, Miss Sorrel, continues to be haunted by the loss of her daughter as well and each year she places a classified ad in the paper with a picture of Janey’s doll offering a reward for its return. Miss Sorrel’s hope is that if someone has the doll, they can give information on how they found it that would lead to answers on what happened to Janey.

In the past there have been many false claims brought to Miss Sorrel by people looking to cash in on the reward she is offering, but this year is different. A young woman named Maggie shows up at the Sorrel house with Janey’s doll. As the Sorrel women dig deeper into the owner of this doll and its history, they bring themselves closer and closer to danger. Who in this sleepy town of Bonsecours is to be trusted? What really happened to Janey all those years ago?

YOU’LL NEVER KNOW, DEAR presents an intriguing story of a missing child and a family desperate to find answers many years later. The novel is filled with deception presented to the Sorrel family by people they have always trusted. It is a story of secrets and lies that have over the years built upon each other and now with the return of Janey’s doll they slowly come to the surface. Despite Ephron’s use of red herrings throughout the novel, I found it easy to guess who was behind the disappearance. There were some revelations that I didn’t expect, but overall they were far and few between. YOU’LL NEVER KNOW, DEAR left me wanting more suspense and more edge of your seat intrigue. While the ending was more fast-paced than the rest of the novel, it wasn’t enough to boost this book beyond a middle of the road rating for me.

Thank you to William Morrow and Hallie Ephron for allowing granting me a copy of this novel through Library Things. ( )
  jess_reads_books | Aug 22, 2017 |
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Sometimes a dream is your subconscious trying to sort out what happened when you were awake. Sometimes it's the universe trying to tell you something. And sometimes it's just a dream.
For Franny and Jody
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Elisabeth Strenger peeled three boiled eggs under running water, dropped them into a chipped Blue Willow china bowl, and began to mash them with a fork.
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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)

"From the award-winning author of Night Night, Sleep Tight comes a novel about a little girl's disappearance and the porcelain doll that may hold the key to her fate." -- Book jacket. Lissie Woodham and her sister Janey were playing with their porcelain dolls in the front yard when a puppy scampered by. Lissie chased after the pup and returned to find Janey-- and her precious doll gone. Forty years later Lis-- now a mother with a college-age daughter of her own-- still blames herself for what happened. Every year their mother places a classified ad in the local paper with a picture of the toy Janey had with her that day, offering a generous cash reward for its return. This year, the doll came home. But someone knows the truth about what happened all those years ago, and is desperate to keep it hidden.… (more)

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