Book Review: When The Stars Go Dark – I could not put it down

By Paula McLain

Anna Hart has suffered a deep loss, setting her adrift in a sea of her own making. Leaving her husband alone with his grief, she flees to Mendocino. The small town is set idyllically on the ocean where she lived with the only foster family that actually cared for her. Sadly, it was also the place that one of her friends disappeared from and was never found.

Tragically, history has repeated itself. This time, more than one young girl has gone missing. Armed with a law enforcement badge as well as her successful career saving children that have been abused Anna joins the local sheriff in the searches. She must face her fears, as well as overcome her personal demons. The underlying anguish of Anna is palpable. Perhaps it is why she is determined to help the missing girls. Maybe she will feel redemption if just one of them is not murdered.

The characters come to life on the pages, along with the emotions the author artfully brings to the story. Often fiction is based upon facts. When the Stars Go Dark, while a work of fiction, weaves in the heartbreakingly true story of the kidnapping of Polly Klaas. Be sure to read the Author’s Note at the end of the novel as she writes about it as well as touching on her journey in the foster care system and being a survivor of child abuse. The setting is based on a town that exists. The year is 1993, before cell phones, DNA and the internet became the norm.

This is the first book I have read by Paula McLain. She is a New York Times bestselling author of several novels as well as a memoir and two collections of poetry. I am certain When the Stars Go Dark will become a bestseller as well. I highly recommend it because the plot is page turning and the prose is often to be savored. Put it on the top of your list of must reads. If you are a fan of Jodi Picoult, you will love Paula McLain as they both have the same depth and powerful emotion threaded throughout their novels.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2021 Laura Hartman

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