Friday, April 13, 2018

Everything She Lost

37531813After suffering a mental breakdown that nearly destroyed her marriage, Nina Taylor works hard to maintain her tenuous hold on sanity and be a good mother to her two young daughters. Despite her best efforts, she questions the possibility of a full recovery.

Single mom Deja Johnson struggles to overcome her troubled past and raise her young son. But her friendship with Nina brings more complications. What Deja is hiding could not only destroy relationships but endanger lives.

One traumatic night threatens to shatter Nina’s mind. With Deja’s help, she strives to maintain her mental balance. But as events spiral out of control, the women must find out if Nina is losing her sanity or if someone is plotting against her.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Alessandra Harris creates a confused and creepy web of deceit in her novel, Everything She Lost. Splitting the narrative between two main characters, Nina and Deja, give readers two sides of the same story... but one is untrustworthy while the other is mentally ill. This creates a story that readers doubt from the very beginning. 

Nina is a woman who is still recovering from a mental breakdown. As a reader, I liked Nina for her persistence, her focus, and the love she has for her children. She truly wants to be healthy so she can take care of her children. However, the situation she is in is not conducive to mental health. Her husband, Rodney, is cheating on her and she isn't aware of it. What makes it worse -- he's cheating on Nina with Deja, Nina's only friend. This sets up readers to immediately dislike Deja and it worked for me. Though I can see that she's trying to make a better life for her and her son, Miles, she's going about it the wrong way. When a person from her past threatens her, she reverts back to her previous way of handling things. 

Both of these characters do elicit sympathy from the reader, creating a connection from the beginning. Though as the story continues, readers can see the confusion mounting and a feeling of wrongness seeps from the pages. Suddenly it's Nina against reality and she doesn't know who to trust or who is telling her the truth. This is how Harris takes her novel to the next level, making the book suspenseful and the reader a little afraid to know the truth. The only downside was that the outcome was a bit predictable. There are only so many characters and once the reader starts narrowing it down, then there's only one solution that makes sense. 

The plot begins by introducing the relationships between the characters: Nina and Deja are friends while Deja is having an affair with Rodney, Nina's husband. A single text message prompts Nina to burst into Deja's house where she's being attacked by an ex-lover. In an effort to help, Nina accidentally kills the man. And all sorts of trouble follows layered with various side-plots and supporting characters. I think readers who enjoy suspense, thrillers, and unreliable narrators will enjoy this book. (It even has hints of a mystery.) I would definitely recommend for an entertaining read. 

Rating: 3.5/5 Cups

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