Title: Give It Back
Author: Danielle Esplin
“This novel follows three characters: Lorraine, Lexy, and Ella.
Not long ago, Lorraine lost her husband to another woman. She thought that was the worst thing that could happen to her, but soon she realizes it’s just the beginning of an everlasting nightmare.
Lexy, an au pair from London, moves to Seattle to help Lorraine with her infant son. But she didn’t come for the child…she came for something else.
When Ella receives a call from her sister, Lorraine, who begs her to leave San Diego to spend time with her, she decides to take a few days off from work to visit her. Frightened to see how much Lorraine has weakened since her diagnosis eight months ago, she packs a bag and heads to Seattle with a foreboding feeling that this might be the last time she sees Lorraine.
But on her way to the airport, she learns that something shocking has happened since she last spoke with Lorraine and now. To make matters worse, once Ella arrives in Seattle, Lorraine’s story keeps changing, making Ella question how reliable her sister really is.
Soon Ella is entangled in a mysterious investigation, and more so, in the lives of everyone involved. She realizes not only that she won’t go home anytime soon but also that she’ll never look at others the same way she did before.”
This book was a trip. From page one the words punched me in the gut and made me take a step back. Not to mention that Danielle Esplin’s writing sounds like a professional. I found myself intrigued and yearning for more from page one, and that is something that has become very rare for me.
One of the main aspects that I seek out in a novel is whether the characters are well developed, and that was something that I was able to see easily with Esplin’s writing. She clearly understands her characters and all aspects of them. I found myself worrying and carrying for each character, and I was afraid to put the book down in fear of letting them go. They were so complex and realistic, and Esplin captured the flawed human experience perfectly. I didn’t feel like any of her characters were too perfect or unreachable, and that allowed me to connect to them on a personal level.
In terms of story, Esplin mastered the mystery element of this novel. She made it clear that she always had more information than the reader was presented with at times, and I was excited to find out that she didn’t give all of her story’s information away right away. She was the master of her story, and that is something that I rarely see anymore.
Surprisingly, I don’t get approached with many contemporary novels to review, and reading Give It Back was a breath of fresh air. I absolutely love when novels are separated into chapters with different character perspectives, and Esplin’s novel completely demonstrates the writing tip I posted earlier this week about handling different perspectives. Her writing was golden and flawless and I could go on and on about it.
If you are looking for a wonderful contemporary novel with flawed characters and intense mystery, then this novel is the one for you. I will gladly read it again and recommend it to others as much as I can.
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