Karen's Reviews > Only Ever Her

Only Ever Her by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
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This is an unusual novel in that on the surface it appears to be a mystery but usually mystery novels are very plot-driven and fast-paced whereas this story is slow burning and is very character-driven.

It's about Annie, who days before her wedding goes missing. While she tells a few bits of her story in the very beginning, most of the book is told from the perspectives of 4 other people: her cousin, her aunt (who is the mother figure because Annie's mom was murdered when she was a kid and she was raised by her aunt), her high school secret best friend, and another high school classmate (not friend) who is back in town working for the local paper.

I usually love character-driven stories and when thrillers take this route I am even happier. And this was totally my kind of novel where the mystery of what happens to Annie (and what happened to her mother) were what united the story but it was really more about the small town, each of the people and their individual stories and their journey. The biggest reason this is not a 5-star read for me was that I didn't end up connecting with any of the characters. I think this is because there wasn't enough depth, vulnerability, connection built between them and the reader. Maybe that's cause there was more telling than showing, or just not enough in general but even though I can't quite put my finger on the why, I just didn't feel connected to the characters as much as I like to in this type of story. I will say, though, that I didn't find any of them dislikable. None of them are two-dimensional, comical, or unreliable. Which is already a huge win compared to so many of the mysteries that seem to be coming out lately.

This was a solid read for me. I enjoyed the time I spent with it.

Thank you to netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for the early review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Reading Progress

April 28, 2019 – Started Reading
April 28, 2019 – Shelved
May 2, 2019 – Finished Reading

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