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The Mourning Hours

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  3,109 Ratings  ·  514 Reviews
A family's loyalty is put to the ultimate test in this haunting and unforgettable debut.

Kirsten Hammarstrom hasn't been home to her tiny corner of rural Wisconsin in years-not since the mysterious disappearance of a local teenage girl rocked the town and shattered her family. Kirsten was just nine years old when Stacy Lemke went missing, and the last person to see her ali
Paperback, 321 pages
Published June 25th 2013 by Harlequin MIRA (first published January 1st 2013)
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Paula DeBoard Hello! It's weird how GR doesn't notify that there are questions... so I just spotted this! Yes, the cover has fireflies in a mason jar, just like I…moreHello! It's weird how GR doesn't notify that there are questions... so I just spotted this! Yes, the cover has fireflies in a mason jar, just like I used to catch when I was a kid. :) Thanks for your question!(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Charlie I have no idea...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Nov 30, 2016 ☮Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
A very good story about coming of age in rural Wisconsin, only with the added challenge of having your older brother accused in the disappearance of his girlfriend. If that doesn't make life almost impossible in a small town! The unraveling of the mystery held me in its grip, and there's a satisfying ending/resolution. Can't ask for much more.
Mar 27, 2013 Erin rated it really liked it
I could not put this book down. I started reading it at 11:00 pm last night, read until 1:00 am, when I forced myself to stop reading and go bed, since I had to work in the morning. When I got up, I picked it right back up and kept reading as I brushed my teeth, did my hair, and got ready for the day. When I left for work, I popped my iPad into my bag, so I could read at work. I actually reviewed my morning in my mind on the way there, trying to figure out if I would have time. I read it here an ...more
Thank you Goodreads for delivering into my hands a book I could not put down! Even thoughThe Mourning Hours is published by Harlequin it definitely is not a romance novel! Simple plot line... popular and athletic high school boy meets girl, boy dates and falls in love with girl, girl goes missing. The story is set in the small Wisconsin town of Wantankee. It is a safe and quiet town where everybody knows everybody. The story is narrated by 9 year old Kirsten, the sister of Johnny who is under su ...more
Holy shit, I just gobbled up the first Harlequin book I ever picked up. Gobbled as in: I began this book less than twenty four hours ago and now there is no more book to be read because all its pages have passed below my gullet, washed down with giblet gravy and cranberry relish. And now I sit gluttonous, drunk on misplaced tragedy and shame in a fictional small town—slovenly at not having milked the cows or fed the chickens or, worse: dumbstruck at being unable to hear the corn grow.

Were we eve
Dec 28, 2014 Theresa rated it liked it
More like 3.5 stars. I thought "The Mourning Hours" was well-written and I liked the protagonist, Kirsten but overall, I felt like the plot dragged along more than was necessary. I guess my expectations for this book were a little too high based on all the positive reviews. Parts of the story were interesting, and some parts were kind of boring/repetitive. It's a mixed bag for me. :(
Judy Collins
The Mourning Hours, another winner by Paula Treick DeBoard! Set aside the time, as this is a powerful book to read without interruptions. Coming in audio format 10/28/14.

The novel will leave you pondering, “If this is a debut, what is yet to come?” After reading this gripping page-turner filled with metaphors, and an advanced reading copy of her upcoming, The Fragile World, readers are in for a rare treat!

A talented author to follow for years to come; her unique writing style captures you fr
James Schaap
Dec 28, 2012 James Schaap rated it it was amazing
If a new novel acknowledges you in the preface, if it’s by a former student, if it mentions, at the outset, a town named Oostburg, Wisconsin, my home town, then what’s not to like, right?

The Mourning Hours, a first novel from Paula Treick DeBoard, hits all those notes, so you can take almost everything I say as the braying of a grandpa or some other privileged relative.

Her novel is a wild page-turner, a mystery, sort of, a story that uses a ton of domestic realism and features the thoughtful mem
Apr 23, 2014 Kelli rated it liked it
This book got a lot of excellent ratings from others. Hmmm. This was a tragic story, almost entirely narrated by a nine year old girl, which made it a little haunting. I was expecting more mystery and less tragedy. I enjoyed this and found it readable but it didn't blow me away. A very good debut though.
Oct 19, 2013 Amy rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 02, 2014 Elyse rated it really liked it

I might not had read this book -had it not been for the strong recommendation from my GR's friend (we both tend to love these types of books).

MOST my woman friends will 'cozy-up' into this 'CAN'T-PUT-DOWN-PAPERBACK', and enjoy it fully!!! I was lucky to find it for a dollar at my favorite 'thrift' shop. I'll pass it on to Kim at the gym. (she'll eat it up).

It could be said: "The Morning Hours", has a "Lifetime Movie" feeling to it, but, I enjoy select movies made for "Lifetime".

Tara Garcia
Jul 26, 2013 Tara Garcia rated it it was amazing
I loved this book.
I fell in love with the characters...
I was there with them.
Every step of their journey.
My heart ached with them.
They will stay with me.
I want to read more from this author.
This book will stay with me.
And... I think more books should be told by a fourth grader.
It absolutely worked!
Brilliantly worked.
Jun 18, 2013 Kevin rated it it was amazing
Whoa... I don't know what else to say. I really don't.

I just finished it and I must say I am blown away. But let me start from the beginning. I won this book on a giveaway and eagerly awaited receiving it. As soon as I did I started reading. At first I thought the book was good, it kind of dragged on at times, but I understood what was said needed to be said. Then it seemed like the main character was going to be young for the entire novel, when the back led me to believe that it would be more r
Apr 08, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Don't you just love a book that you can't put down? The Mourning Hours was one such book for this reader.

First, this tale is set in Wisconsin. I happen to be a very proud Wisconsinite and I'm always thrilled when my home state is featured in a book. The Mourning Hours depicted the small town feel of rural Wisconsin life very accurately.

Second, the suspense was done remarkably well. DeBoard reeled me in deliberately and thoroughly. The events of one snowy evening changed the Hammarstrom family f
Mary Kubica
Jul 01, 2013 Mary Kubica rated it it was amazing
I just finished The Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard and thoroughly enjoyed it! The writing kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. DeBoard's character development is near flawless, especially that of our young narrator who brings us along on the journey of a small town Wisconsin mystery, and the effect it has on one close-knit family. I truly could not have predicted the outcome and was still guessing right up until the very last pages of the book. An excellent debut by a wonderful new ...more
Jan 11, 2015 Sheri rated it liked it
This book is really a 2.5 star. It was a solid 3 star until the last 50 pages or so and then everything wrapped up too nicely for my taste. There is nothing very profound here, it is simply an easy read. The story is pretty compelling and seems to ask the question: "do we really know those we love?" or "do we really know those with whom we live?"

It is well enough done and reminds me of something Jodi Picoult would have written, but I was very upset that the end had to solve the mystery. I think
Janet Robel
Good mystery! I had absolutely no idea what happened to Stacy Lemke and was surprised at the outcome.
Eustacia Tan
Jun 06, 2013 Eustacia Tan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Wait, is this book seriously from Harlequin? I'm sorry, but I've always associated Harlequin with light fluffy romance stories. This was deep moving, and not about romance (in the traditional swept-of-your-feet kind of way).

The Mourning Hours deals with the fallout of a missing-person's case. Kirsten (our narrator) is the younger sister of the town's (wrestling) hero Johnny. After she helps Johnny and his girlfriend Stacy get together, things start to become rather strange. Strange as in Stacy-i
Jun 09, 2016 Danielle rated it really liked it
Not quite a 4.5, but almost. This book did start slowly for me, but I fully admit that may have been due more to my mindset rather than that book. However, it did not take long for me to get to a point where I couldn't put it down.

This author has a talent not only for grabbing your interest and not letting go, but also for sucking you in as if you were part of the story itself. My senses were tingling with this one: I could clearly see what was going on; I could smell and taste the food/drink t
Jan 13, 2014 Pam rated it really liked it
4 1/2 stars! An easy to read first person narrative, this story is told primarily through a nine year old girl's point of view. Her name is Kirsten, and in the early 90's her teenage brother goes on a date with his girlfriend, and the girlfriend Stacy Lemke, is never seen again.
From the beginning, this seemed a twisted story, maybe even dark. More than anything, this book takes you through what happens to Kirsten and her family as a result of the suspicions cast over her brother, who was the la
Carmen Blankenship
Sep 20, 2014 Carmen Blankenship rated it it was amazing
Shelves: heart-wrenching
This book had me at the edge of my bus seat on my long commute home. The pace was super speed and I enjoyed the ride. So many times I asked myself what I would do in this situation. It's almost as if the author lived this. I won't rehash the story. It's about a family that is struck by a tragedy that happens more than anyone wants to admit to.

The ending...... I didn't see it coming and I ALWAYS see it coming.

Great book, you will not regret hitting that buy with one click button. I promise.
Rebecca McNutt
Sad book, but very effective, and the characters are easy to relate to. The small town setting is also very realistically-written.
Jun 03, 2015 Michelle rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 29, 2013 Kate rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I am giving this book five starts because I could not put it down.

I think that what affected me most profoundly in reading this story is that it brought to the surface the sense that this could happen to nearly any family. Not these particular events, but a situation which stretches the limits of relationships, loyalty, and trust. As the story unfolds, the truth of what really happened is obscured. We can only see as clearly as nine-year-old Kirsten Hammarstrom, through whose eyes we witness th
Mar 29, 2013 Beth rated it it was amazing
This book is a culmination of a life noticing. Noticing the little details, the nuances of family conversation, the feelings we reveal in our faces when we are trying to keep them hidden. Kirsten notices all these things in this story. With the mind of a nine year old she doesn't always understand the meaning of them, but she holds them in her heart, pondering them, deciphering them, questioning them.

Unlike most of you readers, I HAVE been to the Hammarstrom (Treick) farm. It's where I spent ti
Branwen Sedai *of the White Ajah*
Kirsten Hammarstrom's life and family were torn apart one snowy night when she was nine years old and her seventeen year old brother's girlfriend goes missing. When she doesn't turn up, the small rural Wisconsin town rears up and crucifies Kirsten and the rest of her family in a stormy whirlwind of accusation. Years later, when the family gets together again they find that some ghosts never really leave, and some mysteries never really die. Whatever did happen to Stacy Lemke that night?

*sighs* I
Jul 11, 2013 Heather rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book. I really, really did. It's clear from the back cover what's going to happen but of course I wanted all the details of the how and why. I think my mistake is that what I really wanted was a mystery novel and this isn't that. It's a thoughtful, beautifully written description of the downfall of her family from the mind of a child. The writing is gorgeous and I can feel the emotions just pouring out of Kirsten at times. There's quite a bit of buildup to the night Stacy d ...more
Diane S ☔
Mar 14, 2013 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
Shelves: roadrallyteamb
When Kirsten was nine years old, her brother Johnny's sixteen year old girlfriend Stacy, disappears after a date with Johnny. This is a book, set in Wisconsin on a farm, with a close knit family full of love, everything wasn't perfect but they were together, until this tragedy. Johnny comes under suspicion, not only by the police, but the whole town judges him guilty.

This is a very touching and heartbreaking novel, showing how judgmental people can be, how a tragedy like this effects a whole fa
Anna Smith
Aug 07, 2013 Anna Smith rated it did not like it
This book has the substance and depth of a cheap midday movie. I'm surprised I made it through to the end with all the eye-rolling I did.
Hannah Haertl
Sep 05, 2013 Hannah Haertl rated it it was amazing
“The Mourning Hours” is an outstanding book. Kirsten Hammarstrom is a small town girl who now lives in a big town, something completely different from her rural home in Wisconsin. She has not been back to her home in over twenty years. She doesn't expect anything to go wrong, until she sees the lights of her brother’s eyes. Nobody has seen Johnny since the disappearance of his girlfriend when he was a senior in high school. Kristen soon learns that she’s living the lie of one of her close neighb ...more
Shelly Itkin
Jul 24, 2013 Shelly Itkin rated it really liked it
This might be Ms. DeBoard’s debut novel but I guarantee it won’t be her last. This heartbreaking novel portrays how a family is torn apart after the disappearance of Stacy Lemke, whom their son Johnny was dating at the time of her disappearing. Kirsten was nine years old and will never forget that day for the rest of her life. The Hammarstrom family will never be the same as these events have left it’s mark on each and every member of the family in different ways.

Kirsten Hammarstrom is returning
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Paula Treick DeBoard is a writer, latte drinker and all-around slave to public education. Her first novels—written in the back seat of a 1977 Chevy Caprice station wagon where her parents let her jostle around, unprotected by a seatbelt—were sadly lost in one cross-country move or another.

The Mourning Hours (2013) was her first novel to survive. Paula is also the author of The Fragile World (2014
More about Paula Treick DeBoard...

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“E. L. Doctorow quote that I believe, too: “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” How did you know you wanted to be a writer?” 0 likes
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