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And When She Was Good

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  11,640 ratings  ·  1,386 reviews
When Hector Lewis told his daughter that she had a nothing face, it was just another bit of tossed-off cruelty from a man who specialized in harsh words and harsher deeds. But twenty years later, Heloise considers it a blessing to be a person who knows how to avoid attention. In the comfortable suburb where she lives, she's just a mom, the youngish widow with a forgettable ...more
Kindle Edition, Main Edition, 386 pages
Published December 4th 2012 by Faber & Faber (first published August 1st 2012)
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3.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,640 ratings  ·  1,386 reviews

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Honestly, I never know how to rate a book when I don't like the main character. If the story is interesting (it was...) and it keeps my interest (it did....), I should probably give it 4 or 5 stars. But I find Heloise to be just unlikable. She comes across as aloof, unsympathetic and self-pitying. She seems to think she's smarter than everyone else.

While Helen/Heloise is in high school, her verbally abusive jerk of a father insists she go get a job. This job leads her down a twisted and ugly pa
William Thomas
Aug 24, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The libraries around here are running low on audiobooks that appeal to me, so I picked one up by Laura Lippman. I didn't really know anything about her going into this, except that her books seem to be mystery/thriller based and I thought I'd go for it. I might never go for it again. I'm embarrassed I read this, and I'm embarrassed that she wrote it. I didn't even want to add it here, but I figured I would rate it on here because I did not shut it off and listened to the whole damn thing start t ...more
A quick read, but not one I loved. I've read a handful of Lippman books because I enjoy the way she works Baltimore into her books as a character of its own. This one tipped a line into something I didn't like. The character was somewhat sympathetic, but there were asides that seemed more like authorial interjections than things the character would notice. She ended up reminding me of a group of women at my gym who talk loudly about vacations and their teenagers' cars and their husbands' careers ...more
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
Along with Elizabeth George and Michael Connelly, Laura Lippman is mystery writer whose usual who-done-its transcend the genre. So it's interesting that for her latest novel, Lippman steps outside the familiar ground of a straight-forward mystery novel and gives us a character study of a suburban madam.

Alternating between the past and the present, Lippman lays out the circumstances that led to Helen changing her name to Heloise and trying to escape her past. Fathered by a man cheating on his wi
Cora Tea Party Princess
Although it felt that nothing happened for long stretches of this novel, when things did happen they were executed perfectly. You may think this would lead to a boring read, but And When She Was Good is far from boring.

The main character, Helen/Heloise (Hel?) seems so sure of herself for the majority of this book, and i'd be lying if I didn't admit that the ending was the best part - but that's because Hel stopped being so superior and aloof and putting everyone down. It took her being out-smart
Kaethe Douglas
This should fill the sweet spot that's craving another Gone Girl. It is both clever and marvelously prosaic, so that the reader fully enters into the story of Heloise, a hard-working suburban single mom who runs an escort service to provide her with the time and money to raise her child.

I had the weirdest feeling throughout the first two-thirds or so that I had already read this, even though I couldn't recall any of the plot. Turns out I've read some other stories about Heloise. And now I can't
Kerry Kilburn
Laura Lippman is one of my favorite authors; I can always count on her to deliver a solid thriller with a special combination of ordinary setting (Baltimore and its surroundings), superficially ordinary characters with extraordinary pasts, challenging and interesting perspectives, great pacing, and terrific writing. I enjoyed this book for all of those ingredients, but not as much as I normally do.

I found Helen/Heloise a difficult character to warm up to - not because I didn't like her or under
Mickey Reed
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adult fiction fans
Shelves: blog-tour, 2012
See full review here!

Laura Lippman's Tess series is one I've read in the past. I've never tried her stand-alone work, and I'm always game for a good stand-alone. Especially an adult one. I read a lot of YA fiction, but this is a GREAT adult novel to pick up! I might say that this would make a great book club novel. It has great themes and discussion elements. It's addicting and curious. It wasn't predictable in the way that I knew how it would all play out, though I did guess at a couple things
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
I listened to this book on audio, thanks to a job change and a one hour commute.

This is my first Lippman book. It takes place in Annapolis, which just happens to be close to where I live.

Aside from being a competent albeit unconventional pseudo mystery, I felt as if it offered some interesting commentary on a controversial topic, the sex industry, specifically high-end prostitution. And by the end of the book, I have to admit, I was hard pressed to come up with a valid argument against the legal
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
I found this a very interesting storyline. What happens to someone when they think they don't deserve much and end up down the road of drugs and prostitution. How do they turn their life around when that is all they know? I always enjoy a Laura Lippman story. She does a great job of entertaining the reader and keeping them interested in the characters and what is happening. Well worth my time.
Mitch Duckworth
Mar 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe I’m guilty. Okay. LL could write spit and I’d call it transcendent.

That said, I have to admit, re AWSWG, there are one or two little nagging elements about several characters that bothered me, badass pimp Val and his previously undisclosed Filipino common-law wife living upstate with whom he has three children. She is—we are asked to believe without question—an incredibly unsophisticated foreign-born woman who believes for over ten years, that her very bad husband is trapped overseas beca
Brooke (Brooke's Books and Brews)
Hmm. I really don’t have a whole lot to say about this book. First of all, I did not read the synopsis when I checked this book out at the library so I had no idea what the premise of the book was so I was surprised when I learned that Heloise was not a lobbyist but actually a madam. This is learned early on in the book. Heloise Lewis, previously Helen Lewis, grew up in an abusive household and was eventually forced to get a job to get contribute to the household bills. She eventually leaves her ...more
I've read two other books by Laura Lippman and really enjoyed them. I was really looking forward to her latest stand-alone novel, but ended up disappointed. It's supposed to be a suspense/mystery/thriller, but it offered little of any of those things. It starts off well enough. A madam in a suburban neighborhood is murdered. Heloise Lewis debates a woman in a store who thinks the madam was asking to be murdered. We find out fairly quickly that the reason Heloise jumps to the dead woman's defense ...more
Rebecca Martin
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really want to give this one a 4.5 because it was so very entertaining. Yes, there is more than one murder and more than one mystery here, but it's the protagonist at its heart, Heloise, who kept my interest. I see that other reviewers say they didn't like the book because they didn't like her. What I found very involving about the book is the way my feelings changed about her over time. They were positive at first (young woman makes the best of a really bad situation)--Heloise (or Helen) is s ...more
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, audiobooks, thriller
Well, people definitely reviewed this book pretty harshly, I don't think it was necessarily deserve though....
This definitely was not the most thrilling of thrillers I've ever read.... however, I did find it interesting, definitely an interesting perspective on prostitution.... Heloise while not always likable was sympathetic, and I did find myself wanting the best for her and her son... maybe part of the problem with this book was expectations? It is labeled as a thriller, and I really would no
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2012-read
I don't usually read crime novels, not because I have some feeling of superiority over this genre, but more that my "scare" bar is very, very low.

This book is about a suburban madam whose seedy past threatens to destroy the near-perfect life she's created. The book moves at an even clip, alternating between Heloise Lewis' past and present lives and the dangers therein.

I enjoyed this book thoroughly. The mood, pacing, etc were perfect. I'd say this is the perfect beach read but I haven't been to
“It is one of the oddities of life in Maryland that no single supermarket can serve a household’s entire needs.”
― Laura Lippman, And When She Was Good

I was nervous reading this book because I'd been let down by other books similiar to this and was not sure what to expect. It was on my TBR list for a really long time.

The main character is a paid escort and as such, I was really afraid this book wouldn’t have much of a plot. I was wrong.

Well I actually enjoyed this which is good. Every new book i
Oct 15, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
This is the three-stariest book I have ever read. My engagement in reading it was so perfectly mediocre. I don't mean it's badly written (neither the plot nor the grammar), and I don't mean I was bored. I wasn't. I kind of idly felt mild interest in finding out what happens next most of the time I was reading it, and I didn't really like any of the characters and I didn't really hate any of them, and it was interesting to read about the prostitution version of Weeds or Breaking Bad, and the myst ...more
Cheeky Cher
3.5 stars - It was really good.

This was an interesting and unique mystery/thriller which was not overly gory or violent and did not move along at a frantic pace - all bonuses for me, though these things may be negatives for certain readers. I really enjoyed the author's writing style which was suffused with sarcasm and snark - more bonuses. This was the first novel I have read by Laura Lippman, but I will definitely be checking out more of her novels.

Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I just couldn't seem to drum up any real feelings for the characters in this book. I neither liked them nor disliked them, and that made the story less enjoyable to read. The story was alright, the writing was fine, it simply did not do anything for me except keep me reading to the end. That is something, I suppose, in a lukewarm sort of a way.

This was a first-reads giveaway, thank you.
Not Laura Lippman's best work.
Amber Myott
I’m a fan of Laura Lippman as an author but this was a bit ‘blah’ for me , not a riveting story line and I wasn’t invested in the characters .
Attila Cthulhuson
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been a while since I've read a mystery meant for adults, as evidenced by my surprise that the novel spent so much time character and world building as opposed to having someone clue-hunting. In fact, I tended to forget it was a mystery.

I enjoyed seeing Heloise's world -- specifically hearing how she built her business -- as well as her history and how generally awesome she was for getting where she was (successful in business, able to support her child, able to have good friends without nee
Barbara Bryant
I have to say I thought this book was a lot of nothing. I try to read Lippman once in a while because my friend likes her, but I noticed that she didn't like this either. That the story of this woman is a little preposterous (after a sad younger life with no prospects and nothing but trouble, her man helps her to start a "lobbying" business in Maryland--a front for a prostitution ring of the higher orders), is only part of the problem.

The story could have been made into a pretty good read but th
Robert Blumenthal
This has to be one of the least "exciting", and, at the same time, one of the absolutely best mystery/thrillers that I have ever read. I am a huge fan of Laura Lippman, finding her one of the literary of all mystery writers. This latest novel is, in my mind, her most literary and best written of all. As I was reading it, I felt that it could have been written by Lorrie Moore or Sue Miller. It involves a suburban Madam who runs a high-class prostitution service in the Baltimore/D.C. area. She's f ...more
Kelly Hager
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best part of the reading slump that I've been in lately is that it forced me to savor this book. Generally, when I'm reading a good book (especially when it's by an author I love, as in this case), I pretty much devour it. I'm usually okay with that, but it turns out that taking a long time (for me) to read is nice, too.

Laura Lippman's books are also always good. It's sort of weird, actually---given how busy she is, I'm starting to wonder if she actually HAS cloned herself. And I feel like e
Sep 06, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, mystery
Wavering between 3-3.5 stars...

Not my favorite storyline, but the writing is good. Story is told through alternating years in the life of Helen AKA Heloise, a suburban madame. I like how it was revealed a bit here and a bit there. Nice character study, but mostly unlikable characters. I think Lippman is an innovative writer and will try more of her books.
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heloise overcomes an abusive childhood by starting an undercover escort service. On the surface she is the ultimate soccer mom.
Heather Stanton
I really enjoyed this one. It’s more of a character study (and what a character) with suspense elements. Helen/Heloise is the sort of character I want to read about, a self-possessed, resourceful woman who is far from perfect but is able to come out on top.
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Guys, did you know that mystery thrillers can sometimes be well-written and entertaining? There is a lot of dreck in this genre but Lippman never fails to deliver.
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Laura Lippman is a New York Times bestselling novelist who has won more than twenty awards for her fiction, including the Edgar Award—and been nominated for thirty more. Since her debut in 1997, she has published twenty-one novels, a novella, a children’s book, and a collection of short stories. Her books have been translated into over twenty languages. LitHub named her one of the “essential” fema ...more
“Heloise long ago reconciled herself to the idea that all is fair in love and war, which is just another way of saying that nothing in life is ever fair, because life is love and war.” 5 likes
“It is one of the oddities of life in Maryland that no single supermarket can serve a household’s entire needs.” 3 likes
More quotes…