Book Review: There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron

There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron

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)

Genre: thriller


About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

19 Responses to Book Review: There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron

  1. Charlie says:

    Mina’s story sounds especially interesting, very current. Your review is really good, just as I was thinking it might be easy to work out just the basics, you’ve not given anything away (which is great).

  2. harvee says:

    Glad you gave it such a high rating as it’s on my TBR pile!

  3. Marie says:

    Oooh, this sounds really good! I am quite interested in stories about the problems people face in old age at the moment after reading some really good complex elderly characters – at that time of life people have so much history behind them and stories to tell. Must put this on my wishlist.

  4. Isi says:

    Sounds great, indeed! Even when you have not talked so much about the plot, which makes it more interesting, hehehe. I suppose this is a book full of surprises that the reader has to discover by him/herself.

  5. Marie says:

    I have this book in my to-be-read pile of books. I don’t want to know too much about the book before I start, so I only skimmed your review. 4.5 stars? I’ll have to read the book soon. I’ll come back then and read your review more carefully. 😉

  6. susanbright says:

    Sounds really good. Thanks!

  7. Laurie C says:

    She’s a Massachusetts author, so I always mean to read her books, but have only read one so far. This one will have to go on the TBR list.

  8. I am so glad to hear you enjoyed this book! I have it on my TBR list on Goodreads and have been so intrigued. The author is from the state I live, so that makes it even more interesting!

  9. Leslie says:

    I’m going to have to make time to read this one (in print no less!).

  10. Sounds like an interesting book, thanks for the review without spoiling it 🙂

  11. I liked this book 🙂

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