The Debut of THE LOST GIRLS by Heather Young

THE LOST GIRLS by Heather YoungAs the Tuesday blogger, I feel like I’m personally introducing Heather Young’s THE LOST GIRLS into the world, never mind that we’ve been talking about it on the blog for eleven months now and it’s been reviewed everywhere. But it’s Tuesday and today is the day that you can walk into any Barnes & Noble and most indie bookstores and pick up your own copy of THE LOST GIRLS or perhaps you preordered it from Amazon and it’s already in your hot little hands. Regardless, I have on my white gown and kid gloves and I’m the one introducing Heather at this cotillion.

When I first read THE LOST GIRLS, I was swept away. My connection to the book perhaps ran a little deeper than the other Debs, because half of THE LOST GIRLS takes in the summer of place in 1935, an era I had researched and lived in vicariously for years as I wrote MODERN GIRLS, which also takes place in the summer of 1935. But it’s almost the exact flip side of my novel, which takes place in bustling, claustrophobic New York City. Her book takes place at a rural Minnesota lake, in a house twenty miles from town, which in 1935 was far enough way that fathers came out only on the weekends. In the novel, Lucy’s six-year-old girl sister, Emily, goes missing, changing the course of Lucy’s life. Yet the mystery of what happened to the younger girl isn’t revealed until Lucy’s grand-niece, Justine, reads Lucy’s notebooks after Lucy’s death in the present day.

While the mystery will have you madly turning pages to find out what happens to both Emily in the past and Justine in the present day, what elevates THE LOST GIRLS for me is Heather’s lush writing. Her imagery is captivating and completely pulled me into the story. I confess I normally skim descriptions, but in THE LOST GIRLS I savored each one, such as this melodic one:

When we got to the clearing, I stopped struck as always by the cathedral the Hundred Tree made, its branches like flying buttresses and the ground beneath it stippled with light that looked as though it had filtered through stained glass. A chorus of cicadas dipped and swelled, registering our presence, then forgiving it.

As I read I could picture each place, had a vivid image of each character, and felt like I was experiencing the story as Lucy and Justine were experiencing it. This made for a couple of too-late nights as I read “just one more chapter” (as if!) but the novel was so satisfying, I didn’t mind a few tired days.

I am beyond thrilled that you will all have your own chance now to experience THE LOST GIRLS. And so as I adjust my tiara, I formally present to the reading world, Ms. Heather Young. You’ll be seeing a lot more of her, I know!

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Jennifer S. Brown is the author of MODERN GIRLS (NAL/Penguin). The novel, set in 1935 in the Lower East Side of New York, is about a Russian-born Jewish mother and her American-born unmarried daughter. Each discovers that she is expecting, although the pregnancies are unplanned and unwanted, in this story about women’s roles, standards, and choices, set against the backdrop of the impending war. Learn more at www.jennifersbrown.com.

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