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When I picked this up I was a little sceptical, as it had a sticker on it saying, "As good as Lovely Bones or your money back."
Am a little wary of claims like that. However, it looked interesting, so I bought it.
Caroline Winters lives in New Orleans, her mother and sister live in New York, not far from where they lived as children.
The story starts with Caroline in New Orleans, she's trying to think how she can turn down the Christmas invitation to New York. However, she goes. An event in Caroline and her family's past comes up for discussion. There was a younger sister, but she disappeared some years previously, aged 5, and there is speculation that she might have been murdered by someone just about to stand trial for another murder, same sort of circumstances. For the man to be charged with Ellie, the missing sister's murder, she has to be declared dead. Both Caroline and her mother can not bring themselves to do this, the other sister Madeline is quite annoyed, and tells them she can declare Ellie dead herself, but she doesn't.
Caroline and her mother discuss Ellie, and her mother shows Caroline a picture that looks as if it could be Ellie. Caroline promises her mother she will look for Ellie. By New Year Caroline has lost her job and her mother. After the funeral she's determined to find Ellie, and goes to where the picture was taken.
Alongside this narrative is the story of how Ellie came to disappear, and how the family coped with it, then there are letters to an Alaskan called Johan, from Agnes.
I won't spoil the end, but it does end well, yet Amanda Eyre Ward leaves a lot for the reader to surmise, she doesn't give you the bare facts.
It was a very interesting book, and I don't want my money back.


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