At forty-five, Hannah Smith is at a crossroads. That’s her spin on it. The reality is she’s divorced, jobless, and moving back to her family home in Iowa to keep an eye on her mother, who’s slipping into dementia. Her return stirs up the same unnerving sense of disconnect Hannah has felt since childhood—always the odd girl out, the loner outshone by her two older sisters. Hannah knew the feelings of hurt would come back. But she never expected fear. Because when her mother looks into her eyes and whispers, “You’re not my daughter,” Hannah is beginning to believe it’s not just the rambling of a confused woman.
It’s the truth.
Now Hannah’s following the trail of a family mystery to the dark coast of Big Sur, where years ago a lie was born—and buried. As frightened as she is to unearth it, Hannah knows this is the last chance she has before her past—and all its terrible secrets—are lost forever.
As part of the NetGalley community, I often have an opportunity to read books before they are released to the public. Since I’m always open to authors I wouldn’t ordinarily be familiar with, I was excited to read the subject of today’s post, Half Past by Victoria Helen Stone.
I didn’t know what to expect from this book, but based on the description I was looking forward to the book. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that I couldn’t even put my Kindle down once I started reading, and I ended up being glued to the story and reading the book from start to finish on one airplane ride from Florida to California!
Right at the beginning I will admit that this book is a bit difficult to provide a review without spoilers because there are so many “secrets” and twists in the plot.
Hannah Smith is a very real and complex character. Although her mother has dementia and doesn’t remember Hannah, she shows up at the nursing home every day to take care of and visit her mother. She is the youngest of three daughters but her mother doesn’t remember her at times. Hannah’s sisters want her to continue taking care of their mother, but Hannah is tired of being “the one” and decides to run off to Big Sur, California when she learns that she was actually adopted.
Hannah slowly puts together the story – a puzzle put together little by little and piece by piece – and it leads to shocking and overwhelming finds that Hannah decides to keep from her sisters once all has been discovered in the end. Hannah comes to accept and realize that everyone has their own burdens in life and that it is how each person deals with them that actually matters.
Half Past is a fast paced story that gives us moments of calmness. Hannah is a wonderfully complex but very real character and the story is a twisting one that keeps readers thoroughly engaged throughout. The author has written an honest and moving novel that provides readers with very believable characters with human imperfections with raw emotions.
I later learned that the author, Victoria Helen Stone is actually a romance novelist by the name of Victoria Dahl, when I read the “about the author” at the end of the book. I haven’t read anything by either of her names, but I have to say the book was very interesting and I’m surprised she has published more than 25 romance novels.
Victoria Helen Stone is the nom de plume for USA Today bestselling author Victoria Dahl. After publishing more than twenty-five novels, she has taken a turn toward the darker side of genre fiction. Born and educated in the Midwest, she finished her first manuscript just after college. In 2016, the American Library Association awarded her the prestigious Reading List Award for outstanding genre fiction.
Having escaped the plains of her youth, she now resides with her family in a small town high in the Rocky Mountains, where she enjoys hiking, snowshoeing, and not skiing (too dangerous).
Come visit on Twitter! http://twitter.com/VictoriaDahl
Thank you to Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Half Past by Victoria Helen Stone for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.