Book Review: Emma In The Night by Wendy Walker


Rating: 5/5 Bookworms

Short and Sweet Summary: Two sisters disappear, only one comes back and now the search is on. Gripping and tantalizing this book won’t let you out of its grip until the very end.

Genre: Thriller

My review:

We believe what we want to believe. We believe what we need to believe. Maybe there’s no difference between wanting and needing. I don’t know. What I do know is that the truth can evade us, hiding behind our blind spots, our preconceptions, our hungry hearts that long for quiet. Still, it is always there if we open our eyes and try to see it. If we really try to see.

Wow, you guys! I could not put down this book! It shouldn’t surprise me because Vilma, of Vilma Iris Blog, kept raving about it but it truly blew me away. Every page, every sentence, every word had me wanting more. I simply could not get enough of Wendy Walker’s writing. I was enraptured after the very first page and it continued all the way to the last period; I simply had to know what happened.

Abby had not forgotten the Tanner sisters. Not for one minute of one day. The facts of the investigation into their disappearance had lain dormant in the shadowed corners of her mind. But that was not the same as forgetting. They were there with her, even after a year of being off the case. They were in her bones. In her flesh. She breathed them in and out with every breath.

Wendy did an amazing job of feeding the reader just enough to keep them interested. Every morsel of information just led to a deeper yearning to figure out just what had happened to Emma and Cass. You’re taken on a journey in which the destination is unclear until the very end. I pride myself on being able to figure out plot twists well before they happen but I was in the dark the whole time. The shock factor and the unexpected twist made this book a must read for me.

I knew the truth, because I knew what all the other pictures looked like–the ones that didn’t make it to the wall in our hallway, the ones that were never even taken at all–the rude awakening was not what she had said, but instead the realization that grown-ups can be wrong, they can be stupid and inept and lazy at their jobs, and that they won’t always believe you even when you are telling the truth. And when they have power over you, these stupid, inept people who can’t see what’s right in front of them, when they don’t believe you when you tell them, bad things can happen.

This book highlights the shortcomings of parents, elders, and ‘the system’. Time and time again there were opportunities in which people could have prevented the girls from disappearing. However, the adults they trusted or were supposed to trust let them down. It is so common for adults to underestimate what kids know and understand; it happens to me all the time and I’m sure many of you can relate. Kids absorb so much of what is going on around them, a lot that they don’t understand but they absorb it nonetheless, and it’s crucial for adults to not take that lightly.

I have never been able to show my feelings like Emma, on the outside. But that does not mean they are not stirring inside me. By the time I finally escaped, I think my feelings eclipsed anything Emma had ever felt. I could feel the scream inside me.

Mental illness is addressed a lot in this book, specifically how it can hide in plain sight and how it’s often passed down. Abby was constantly shut down whenever she brought up mental illness as a possible trigger to the Tanner sisters disappearance. As someone that personally suffers from mental illness I know how easy it is to hide. This isn’t a disease that has any outward effects and with the stigma surrounding it it can easily be looked over. A lot of times people get no official diagnosis and thus they get no treatment leaving the disease with the potential to wreck havoc on them and their loved ones. It was interesting to see how in the court of law it is difficult to pursue a lead based on a suspected mental illness and I thought Wendy did a great job of conveying Abby’s frustration over the roadblocks she routinely has to jump over.

Cass, he’d said, was no threat. She was weak. She was a follower. But Emma, she was trouble. She wanted power and didn’t know her place the way her mother did. He’d suggested that she was aware of her appeal with men and had started to use it. She said Jonathan had used that expression–Lolita.

The plot twist at the end still has me shook. The way Wendy twisted and turned everything made it impossible to see what was coming next. The layers upon layers of manipulation and deceit was so thought out and well executed and I’m always so in awe of authors with that ability. Thought provoking and pulse pounding you won’t regret getting to know Emma In The Night.

Goodreads Synopsis:
One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.


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Get to know Wendy Walker:Wendy-Walker-Headshot

Wendy Walker is a former family law attorney in Fairfield County, Connecticut who began writing while at home raising her three sons. She published two novels with St. Martin’s Press and edited multiple compilations for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series before writing her debut psychological thriller, All is Not Forgotten.

Wendy earned her J. D., magna cum laude, at the Georgetown University Law Center where she was awarded  the American Jurisprudence award for her performance in Contracts and Advanced Criminal Procedure.  She received her undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Brown University and attended The London School of Economics and Political Science as part of her undergraduate studies.

Prior to her legal career, Wendy was a financial analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co., in the mergers and acquisitions group. She has also volunteered at the ACLU, Connecticut Legal Services and Figure Skating in Harlem where she served on the Board of Directors for over twelve years.

Wendy is currently writing her third thriller while managing a busy household.

Connect with Wendy Walker:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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