While Nicki Reed is desperate to find the answers to her past, someone is desperate for her to never remember. Shortly after her father died, Nicki’s nightmares started. They were soon followed by panic attacks. Suspecting her haunting dreams were related to her childhood, Nicki sought professional help, but Nicki was unable to verbalize any memories she had as a child. Bad things happened when she told secrets. When her therapist suggested she write her memories, Nicki started remembering things she had pushed far into the recesses of her mind. She started to doubt her own sanity, and when she began to see a strange woman stalking her, she couldn’t be sure if that woman was real or imagined. Yet, Nicki couldn’t tell anyone, until—her own family’s welfare was threatened.
It’s a natural for Gloria Zachgo to write stories with Kansas settings. She grew up on a farm in Lincoln County, where she attended one of the last one-room schoolhouses in the country. After graduating from Brown Mackie Business School, she married her high school sweetheart. Living out of state for several years, Gloria and her husband moved back to their Kansas roots. While their children were young, she ran a small business out of their home. It was when her children left the nest, that she pursued a lifelong dream and took various art lessons. Always wanting to learn new things she joined a creative writing group in 2006, and soon found she had a passion for writing fictional short stories. One particular short story was written on the prompts of a gingerbread man and a small toy horse. It led to her first novel, The Rocking Horse. “I knew there was more to the story. I kept seeing the image of a young woman, all alone, with a quirky little toy trying to give her a message.” “I love writing about ordinary everyday people and their struggles with what life deals them.” Gloria certainly did write about the struggles of ordinary people in her second novel, Never Waste Tears. She lets five individuals each tell their own story of what Kansas looked like in the 1860s, when the land was free, but the true price was often high. Gloria’s characters often completely take over their own destination. In her latest novel, Hush Girl: It’s Only a Dream, Nicki Reed is no exception. Gloria simply wrote what Nicki felt as she delved into her past. Gloria Zachgo and her husband currently reside in Wichita, Kansas. To learn more about Gloria feel free to visit her website – www.gloriazachgo.com
A psychological journey that that takes the tortured dreams and memories of a child and turns them into a resolution that makes life possible again. Nicki suffers a break with the death of her father and is unable to share her problems. Her family is suffering as she becomes more and more dysfunctional. She eventually seeks help at her husband’s request and is able to discover the evil that has kept her captive for so long. A well-written and thoughtful story that draws you in and doesn’t let you go. I wanted to stand up and shout “You go, girl!”.
Gloria Zachgo third novel can be categorized as both mystery and women's fiction. Delving into the problems Nicki Reed has with panic attacks and nightmares, Zachgo explores the use of therapy and a loving, understanding husband to bring Nicki some relief. The therapist helps her find answers to questions she's struggled with ever since her mother left the family when Nicki was only 5. The woman who moved into their home afterward is key to much of the story. She tormented Nicki as a child and comes back into her life again when she is an adult. I found my interest level increased as the story moved along. A satisfying read for those who like solving mysteries and like a good story.
Briefly, this book is about a woman who now has a stable home life with a husband and 2 children she loves but suffers from debilitating nightmares due a traumatizing childhood some of which she has trouble remembering. Through the help of a therapist she works on remembering and telling some of the secrets locked in her mind. At the same time, she feels like someone is following or stalking her. This doesn't sound like much but the book is very suspenseful and keeps you on edge. It makes you want to keep reading so you can find out what is really going on. I liked the main characters and felt this was well written. I enjoyed it very much.
Gloria Zachgo's novels are always a pleasure to read and this book is no different. The writing, (and the story itself), flows smoothly and easily, with a life of it's own. Ms. Zachgo breathes life into her characters and they are well fleshed out. Her characters make you care about them and what happens to them.
This was a difficult story to read, but only because of the traumas and abuses the protagonist suffered, not due to any fault of the author. Difficult because it was so real and relatable that the events stayed with me emotionally until I finished the book. Not explicit or gorily detailed, but emotionally charged. Nice pacing with good currents of suspense running throughout.
I always look forward to what Ms. Zachgo has in store in her upcoming books.
This story definitely kept me wondering how it would turn out. I liked how the author used journal entries as a way to create the history and backstory of why Nikki is the way she is. It was powerful to see Nikki want to overcome her issues. Even though she had lots of pitfalls, overall, she wanted to do better for her family and try to figure out how to live a normal life. There was just enough suspense and wonderment to keep this book going, and it wasn't until the near end of the book that I really started to see how it was all going to play out.
Hush Girl: It's Only A Dream, is the story of a mother in her late twenties, hounded by a heartbreaking past. Abandoned by her own mother at the tender age of five, Nicole Reed was further traumatized when her mom was replaced by a woman who would make Cinderella's step-mother look friendly by comparison. Our author, Gloria Zachgo, paints a compelling psychological odyssey as Nicole battles her way to remembrance of a past too painful to recall, eventually culminating in live action car chases, kidnapping and killing. A well-crafted and satisfying read. I've met the author, Gloria Zachgo, and although her last name rhymes with 'wacko,' she is anything but; I found her to be fascinatingly modest for a lady so fluent in her re-creation of real life.
“Don’t remember secrets. Don’t tell any secrets.” These words have been drummed into Nicki Reed from her childhood.
As a retired principal, I encountered abused children. Through fear, threats and pain, they were forbidden to speak. Their abusers had engrained a culture of silence in them.
Hush Girl by Gloria Zachgo is a well-written novel so intimate it reads like a memoir. This novel is a psychological journey of an abused woman searching for yet fearing to find her childhood reality in order for her to move into a loving future.
Gloria Zachgo deftly weaves suspense with human emotion.
This psychological thriller has an intensely immediate feel to it. Zachgo writes in the voice of her troubled protagonist, Nichol. Nichol keeps no secrets from the reader. We are with her, beside her, inside her mind--even, as she gradually unravels the mysteries of who she is and why. She is by turns, bewildered, confused, dispirited, encouraged, triumphant, elated. Though her past includes the most horrific of abuse and her discoveries bring awareness of what has been robbed from her life, the one emotion that never comes through is self-pity. This story is as much a probing of the human heart as it is a murder mystery. It is as much about healing and redemption as it is about the cruelty of a pathologically abusive antagonist.
It is this tension, not just between good and evil, but between mystery and empathy, that kept me glued to its pages from start to finish.
Received a free copy of "HUSH GIRL: It's Only a Dream" from the author.
The appeal of Gloria Zachgo's work is the flow of her writing. One hundred pages goes by in no time at all. Perhaps it's because she leaves the actions of the characters to describe the characters in your head, because her settings are minimalistic, driven by characters, or perhaps it is because of the ease which dialogue comes to her. However, I can't say I had an especially good time reading it. The thing this story struggles with is its stakes. The story is told in present day, but the story is mainly driven by events that happened in the past. Because of this, danger seldom felt imminent, and if it did, the story would try to back up and relieve the tension. It also commits the sin of being repetitive. Nicole has a schedule, and she follows it week after week. Only until pages within the climax, does this schedule change and really immerse the reader. That said, you may not be reading for pleasure, but to learn about people with trauma. This book does a good job conveying the mental dilemma of the protagonist, and could be helpful reference for creating a traumatized character.
First, I would like to thank Gloria Zachgo for the opportunity to read this book through the Goodreads giveaway.
This is my intro to a new author for me. It was a great read. Memories suppressed for so many years suddenly begin to emerge for Nicki. The author writes about the wonderful relationship Nicki has with her husband and how supportive he is throughout the ordeal. Nicki learns to trust her therapist who was able to find a way for Nicki to communicate about her nightmare, memories and her feelings.
Life can be so complex with family interactions, new spouses, children and the various uproars that are bound to occur. This story shows how a bad interaction can impact young children right through their adult years. The story is so beautifully written you cannot help but love most of these characters. Well done.
What I Did Like: -Interesting format. I always like new things and this book delivered on that. Part of the book is told through journal entries Nicki writes on recommendation from her therapist. Those were interesting and kept the story moving. -Thrilling. That’s exactly the word you want associated with a thriller, so this makes sense. It was fast paced and I enjoyed the ride. -Nicki. I think I expected her to be an unreliable narrator, and she really wasn’t. Her own mind was unreliable, in a way, but she was great. She’s a genuine character and she has good ethics. I liked her arc VERY much.
Who Should Read This One: -If the idea of the key to a mystery being locked away in the memories of a character, you’ll enjoy this one.
My Rating: 4 Stars. This one will appeal to mystery/thriller fans.
Wow! This book was a Goodreads Win for me, BOy am I glad I won. This book had me sucked in from the beginning. I could not put this book down. Found my self-reading every chance I could to find out what would happen next. If you are looking for a heart-pounding thriller this is it. Its filled with all kinds of twist turns and betrayal.
Nicki grows up wondering why her mother left and dealing with an evil step-mother. As an adult she has a hard time speaking to anyone about the nightmares she’s having and the feeling that she’s being followed. The plot is good, but the book doesn’t flow well for me.
Hush Girl, It’s Only a Dream by Gloria Zachgo Review by Georgianna Simpson
Hush Girl, It’s Only a Dream is a new mystery thriller by author Gloria Zachgo. It’s a psychological thriller detailing the issue of overcoming abuse as a child and dealing with the mystery of murder(s). This dark, but thrilling, tale relates the issues of Nichole Reed (Nicki), who is beginning to see a therapist about panic attacks, insomnia, and weeping bouts. She didn’t seem to be able to verbalize with anyone about the issues or causes of her problems. Since she couldn’t talk about the issues, the therapist had her try to write her memories, dreams and thought in a notebook. An interesting aspect of the treatment. Nicki and her husband Matt had two wonderful little girls Molly and Olivia. Matt is a loving and understanding husband and a wonderful father. Nicki knows how very fortunate she is to have Matt, and her girls. She has a living sister, Cindy, and a brother who had died as a teenager in a motorcycle accident, Brian. Their mother left when she was around five years old. They were raised by their father and later a live-in woman named Sharon. The story centers around the chronicles of her memories and the abusive treatment by the monster Sharon. The stories are pretty intense and dark, so if you’re sensitive to this kind of story, be warned. This is the story of a, not just troubled woman, but a real monster who ruled the lives of these children and terrorised them. It’s also the uplifting story of how Nicki overcomes this with the help of her husband and children. There is some really scary stuff and covered-up murder(s) and attempted murder. The story is fictitious and imaginative, but scarily realistic. There are wonderful parts of family humor as only a child can produce, as well as the dark stuff, adding to the realism of raising a family. While I caution any who are sensitive to the realistic abuse, I found it to be a page turner and the ending is splendidly upbeat. The author tells a compelling and interesting story that draws you into it completely. I fell in love with Nicki and her children and especially her husband…sigh worthy.
*I received a free copy of this book. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
I have now read three of Gloria Zachgo’s books, and Hush Girl is definitely my favourite.
It is suspenseful and engrossing; mystery piled upon mystery. What happened to seal Nicki’s memory and steal her voice? What happened to her mother all those many years ago? Was her brother’s death really an accident? Who is the strange woman haunting her, and is she real, or just another bad dream?
I love that the focus is as much on Nicki’s recovery and improvement as it is on the physical plot of action and twists.
The story is told in a simple and direct style through a mixture of Nicki’s first-person narration and her written accounts of significant events. It felt so intimate to be able to ‘hear’ the inner monologue of someone who had no ability to communicate verbally with those around her. I really felt like I got to know not just Nicki, but her family as well, and was absorbed in what was happening to them all.
Hush Girl: It’s Only a Dream tells of an ordinary family caught up in a waking nightmare as a result of shadows from the past. It is an easy, if tension-filled read, and I recommend it to fans of psychological suspense and family secrets.
No one would talk with me about my mama when I was a child. When I got older I didn’t want to talk about my sad life. No, that wasn’t it, I couldn’t talk about it. I had it pushed into a dark recess in my head until Daddy’s funeral. That’s when I started having the nightmares.