Sunday, December 23, 2012

Just Jennifer

There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron (William Morrow, April 2013)

Evie Ferrante is working on an exhibit for the Five- Boroughs Historical Society, Seared in Memory, which will include the engine of the plane that crashed into the Empire State Building on a Saturday in 1945, when she receives a message from her sister Ginger about their mother.  Evie and Ginger’s mother, a heavy drinker for most of their lives, lives in a small community in the Bronx, Higgs Point, and, they are not surprised to learn, has been living in squalor.  Ginger flatly refuses to deal with their mother and demands Evie take her turn.  Evie reluctantly turns the finishing up of her exhibit to her assistant and travels to the Bronx where she finds her mother’s home in deplorable condition.  The neighborhood has not change a lot from when Evie grew up there, and she runs into Finn Ryan, running his father’s neighborhood store, who is now working with a group to preserve the Soundview Watershed.  As Evie begins to clean her mother’s home, she learns that there have been some disturbing events in the neighborhood recently, and that her mother’s last words to her neighbor before the EMTs took her away were “Don’t let him in until I’m gone.” something that makes any sense to neither woman.  The more time Evie spends in Higgs Point, the more she realizes there is something sinister occurring, something that brings back memories from her childhood that she has pushed deep down and something from which she is afraid she will not be able to escape.  There Was an Old Woman draws readers into Evie’s story little by little until they are caught up in the suspense and deception found in quiet Higgs Point.

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