In her page-turning new novel, T. Greenwood follows one woman’s journey through heartbreak and loss to courage and resolve, as she searches for the truth about a missing child.
Eight years ago, Tess and Jake were considered a power couple of the New York publishing world–happy, in love, planning a family. Failed fertility treatments and a heartbreaking attempt at adoption have fractured their marriage and left Tess edgy and adrift. A visit to friends in rural Vermont throws Tess’s world into further chaos when she sees a young, half-dressed child in the middle of the road, who then runs into the woods like a frightened deer.
The entire town begins searching for the little girl. But there are no sightings, no other witnesses, no reports of missing children. As local police and Jake point out, Tess’s imagination has played her false before. And yet Tess is compelled to keep looking, not only to save the little girl she can’t forget but to salvage her broken heart as well.
I selected this book because I thought the cover looked really cool. I barely read the description of the book – it was the cover that caught me. I had never heard of T. Greenwood either, although I understand Where I Lost Her is T. Greenwood’s tenth novel.
Here’s my take on the story: In the present tense of June, 2015, Tess Waters and her husband, Jake, leave Brooklyn to head out of town to visit friends at a camp by the lake in her hometown of Lake Gormlaith, Vermont. While visiting, Tess volunteers to run into town to pick up another bottle of wine. On her way back, Tess hits a pothole and the wine rolls off in the floor and cracks, causing Tess to take her eyes of the road for a split second. When she looks up, however, there is a half-naked young little girl standing in the middle of the road. The little girl is eerily pale, and is only wearing a tattered pink tutu and red plastic rain boots with black spots like a ladybug. The little girl appears to be about four years old and she has “wild” eyes and curly brown hair. Tess stops and tries to comfort the little girl as she appears frightened and her hand is bleeding, but the little girl gets scared and runs off into the woods. Tess begins to chase her, but cannot find her so she returns to her car to call 911. Tess realizes she has no signal on her phone so she’s unable to call. She leaves her sweater in the road to mark the location and heads back to the camp so she can call for help.
The police are called and an extensive search begins, which continues for days using helicopters, dogs, and such with no success. No one can find this little girl. Tess won’t return to Brooklyn until the girl is found, but others begin to get suspicious of how much Tess had to drink and if she really saw a child or animal. Some people, including Jake, the local police and other townsfolk, think maybe the little girl was never there in the first place. They even call in a psychic, but with no missing person reports and the police and volunteers not finding anything, the search comes to a halt.
When the police call off the search, Tess begins digging and starts her own investigation and is obsessed with this helpless little girl. Tess is certain of what she saw and she’s desperate to save this little girl not just because she can’t forget her, but because Tess needs to rescue her own sanity as well. When the police learn more about Tess’ history of failure to have a child of her own and a failed adoption they are even more convinced that she is making it up. The police even end up suing Tess for using their manpower for what they believe is a meaningless search and she has to hire a local attorney.
Readers never fully understand in the beginning what happened in Tess’ past that made her who she is in the present tense. We don’t know the tragedy she has lived or the extent of that tragedy. This author gives us a backstory consisting of “flashbacks” to her days in Guatemala and then ultimately, the last portion is revealed near the end of the story.
Where I Lost Her is a suspenseful story with some psychological twists for good measure. As an aside, this story also provides readers with a reminder on the lesson of persistence even when the odds are against you. The characters are well written and complex and the plot was well developed. If you’re looking for an easy, quick read with some added intrigue, you should definitely read this book. While Where I Lost Her was my first book by T. Greenwood, it won’t be my last!
T. Greenwood is the author of ten novels. She has received grants from the Sherwood Anderson Foundation, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and, most recently, the Maryland State Arts Council. TWO RIVERS was named 2009 Best General Fiction Book at the San Diego Book Awards, and GRACE received the same award for 2012. Five of her novels have been BookSense76/IndieBound picks; THIS GLITTERING WORLD was a January 2011 selection, and GRACE was a selection in April 2012. Her eighth novel, BODIES OF WATER, was finalist for a Lambda Foundation award. Her tenth novel, WHERE I LOST HER, has published in March 2016.
She teaches creative writing for San Diego Writer’s Ink, Grossmont College, and online for The Writer’s Center. She and her husband, Patrick, live in San Diego, CA with their two daughters. She is also an aspiring photographer. More information on T. Greenwood can be found at her Official Website HERE.