Author Paula McLain has written a number of historical novels. I’ve read them all, and enjoyed them very much. From her writing, I have learned about Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley, Beryl Markham and her love affair with Denys Finch Hatton, and Ernest Hemingway and another of his wives, Martha Gellhorn.
I was surprised to learn that the author had undertaken the challenge of writing a distinctly different kind of book — a detective mystery story of sorts. Since mysteries are one of my favorite genres, I was eager to read the book. It met my expectations and beyond.
Anna Hart works as a detective in San Francisco, where she specializes in finding missing children. A tragic event in her own life — for which she blames herself — forces her to take a leave of absence from both her job and her husband and child. She moves back to her home town of Mendocino to try and pull herself and her life back together. It was in Mendocino that she spent the best years of her life with her much-loved adopted parents.
Unfortunately, she no sooner gets to Mendocino and a young girl goes missing. Despite her own psychological problems, Anna can’t help but get caught up in the search for this girl. It reminds her of her own childhood in Mendocino when one of her friends is murdered and the case remained unsolved. Before long, the search for the girl becomes oh-so-familiar, as the past connects with the present.
While this is not a historical novel, I liked the way the author tied in real-life cases and real-life people into the novel. It gave the story a realistic feel and made the book even more readable.
I enjoyed the book very much. I hope the author undertakes this type of book again. I would even like to see the return of a more-at-peace Anna Hart.