Book Review: There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron
April 7, 2013 19 Comments
There Was an Old Woman: What it is about
What the publishers say: “There Was An Old Woman by Hallie Ephron is a compelling novel of psychological suspense in which a young woman becomes entangled in a terrifying web of deception and madness involving an elderly neighbor.
When Evie Ferrante learns that her mother has been hospitalized, she finds her mother’s house in chaos. Sorting through her mother’s belongings, Evie discovers objects that don’t quite belong there, and begins to raise questions.
Evie renews a friendship with Mina, an elderly neighbor who might know more about her mother’s recent activities, but Mina is having her own set of problems: Her nephew Brian is trying to persuade her to move to a senior care community. As Evie investigates her mother’s actions, a darker story of deception and madness involving Mina emerges.”
There Was an Old Woman: What I thought
This was a great novel of suspense. I especially liked the story around Mina, the elderly neighbor, who seems to have become much more forgetful recently, and gets into some seriously dangerous situations. But she is a very alert 90-year old and as a reader, I was thinking that maybe someone was playing tricks on her. Was it that nephew, trying to get her into a home?
It was also very unclear how Evie’s mother had become so rich recently, that she didn’t even need to cash in her pension cheques. And why was there such a mess in her house? Bit by bit, Evie (and the reader) find clues to a story that is much bigger than she could have imagined.
There was a sub-story in which Evie, because of her work, interviews Mina about her memories of the Empire State Building, where a historical event took place that Mina played a part in. This was not so interesting, I thought, as it had hardly any bearing on the rest of the (mystery) story. It was also a little too thin a storyline and thus didn’t add much to the book.
But overall, I absolutely loved the story. I got frustrated together with Mina, as she was seen as an old lady who was nuisance to her neighbors and ripe for a care home that she didn’t want to go to. Evie was a believable character too, with a love-hate relationship with her mother which I found very understandable given the past. Very enjoyable, a fast read – because you have to know what’s going on before you close the book!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Number of pages: 303
First published: 2013
I got this: from the publishers (Uncorrected e-proof)