Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Actual Rating: 4


I really liked the beginning and middle of this book and so it pains me to have to drop my rating from a five-star to a four – but it just had to be done.

Emma in the Night is a suspenseful and mysterious story that begins with Cassandra’s return three years after she and her sister disappeared. But Cassandra is alone and Emma is still nowhere to be found. Then Cass begins speaking about a mysterious island and captors named Bill and Lucy who first gave them the life that they always wanted – and then snatched it away. But don’t forget about Abigail Winter, who knows that things are quite out of the ordinary for this family, and has actually experienced something similar. There are so many questions that she still needs answered: how did the girls disappear? Is Cass telling the truth? And where is Emma?

First of all, the writing style was the one thing that really caught my eye. From the very first page I was hooked, and as someone who typically doesn’t like reading books that contain different perspectives, I thought the author actually settled it very well. I could definitely differentiate between Cassandra and Dr. Winter, who each have their own unique voices and yet we’re so similar in some aspects. The writing style was mysterious and it definitely adds to the suspense; there was a lot of dialogue (as a lot of the book is Cassandra telling us her story) but I thought that this worked out really well and was much better than listing out the facts. The plot seemed mostly centered around the psychological development of Cass and how the psychologist gradually figured out what the real story was. Because the story took place on two timelines (real time and Cassandra’s story), the story became even more interesting and the author made it easy enough to follow both.

The characters I thought were flawed in a way that made the story frustrating, and yet they seemed to fit the narrative extremely well. The mother, who admittedly seemed a bit unrealistic, was still incorporated into the larger message behind the book. Overall, the author did incorporate every personality into the story and explained each psychologically, which I thought allowed closure and added to the immersive experience.

The one thing that really made me drop my rating from a five-star to a four was, like I said, the ending. As someone who has read countless psychological suspense stories, I was definitely hoping that the build-up in this book would be well worth what the result was, and I definitely had a lot of theories as the story was going on. Unfortunately, what we got in the end was not quite worth the wait. It was a bit predictable and to me felt a little like any other ending to a psychological suspense. I wasn’t surprised and because I had already wondered if this was what the ending was, I felt a little disappointed that that was the route that the author decided to take. I don’t want to call it a cop-out, but it’s definitely the type of path that I’ve seen before.

Still, I liked the book enough and although I didn’t like the ending, the road there had its ups and downs that kept me engaged throughout. I thought it was still really interesting reading experience and I would still recommend the story to anyone interested in this genre.


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