Saturday, July 6, 2019

Book Review: Girl Unknown, by Karen Perry

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

It was late that night when Zoe came home. I was sitting at the writing desk in the living room, darkness pressing up against the window, the only light thrown by the small anglepoise lamp onto my notes spread in front of me. The rest of the household was sleeping when I heard the crunch of her footfall on the gravel outside.

I could have stayed where I was, working out my thoughts in preparation for the radio interview I was scheduled to give early the next morning. All week, I had been meaning to prepare for it, but what with my trip to Belfast, the time had gotten away from me, and despite my good intentions to set aside a few hours to get ready, here I was on the eve of the interview with very little done. In hindsight, I often come back to this moment, and wonder had I chosen to remain at my desk, had I not gotten up from my chair and gone outside into the hall, would things have turned out differently? So much of what went wrong in the ensuing days and weeks seemed to stem from that night’s events.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect with Girl Unknown. What can happen when a normal family finds out about something that happened years ago – how can it really change the whole family?

Official synopsis:
Book Review: Girl Unknown, by Karen Perry
David and Caroline Connolly are swimming successfully through their marriage’s middle years—raising two children; overseeing care for David’s ailing mother; leaning into their careers, both at David’s university teaching job, where he’s up for an important promotion, and at the ad agency where Caroline has recently returned to work after years away while the children were little. The recent stresses of home renovation and of a brief romantic betrayal (Caroline’s) are behind them. The Connollys know and care for each other deeply.

Then one early fall afternoon, a student of sublime, waiflike beauty appears in David’s university office and says, “I think you might be my father.” And the fact of a youthful passion that David had tried to forget comes rushing back. In the person of this intriguing young woman, the Connollys may have a chance to expand who they are and how much they can love, or they may be making themselves vulnerable to menace. They face either an opportunity or a threat—but which is which? What happens when their hard-won family happiness meets a hard-luck beautiful girl?

Before I even start, I have to make two confessions about my reading of this book: I read the ending first, and then I finished the whole book in a day.

See, as I started reading this book, some of the references were a little weird to me (since the whole book takes place in Ireland, with an Irish family). I can’t remember exactly what it was anymore, but something sounded awkward, but I knew what it was from context clues. It slowed my reading down ... so I skipped to the end. And found out what was going to happen, and then I NEEDED to get there and find out how it actually happened.

All that being said, the story was great, and unraveled wonderfully. I’m very glad I read this book, but it was hard for me to get into, initially. I’m really good at hating characters that authors try to get me to hate, but sometimes I then don’t want to read about them anymore. Trust me, this one is worth pushing through. The ending was admittedly my favorite part of the story, but once I read the whole book, the ending gave so much more depth to understanding everything that led up to it. The book was a great psychological thriller, and I’d give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley has met her reading goal for 2019 (some books reviewed, some books just read) – should she go for double? Find out this and more about her at


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