“One of the best novelists around, period.”
“Lippman has enriched literature as a whole.”
“Lippman is a writing powerhouse. ”
“What an amazing writer!!”
~Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book
And When She Was Good: A Novel
William Morrow (August 14, 2012)
An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Hardcover: 320 pages
In the burbs she is a single soccer mom with a forgettable job. In Washington she is a redheaded lobbyist with a pretty mediocre record. But in fact if you can afford her hourly fee she will be the woman of your dreams.
She has gone from what he father called a girl with a “nothing face” to a woman with a very secret life. She has no real friends, keeps her life highly compartmentalized, trusts very few, all while trying to shelter her son from what really pays for their upper class lifestyle.
Then her accountant starts asking questions. Her longtime protector is hinting at new mysterious dangers. Her employees can’t be trusted. Her son’s father may be getting out of jail. Oh and another suburban madam has been found dead.
Nothing is what it seems and the stakes are higher than ever.
With no formal education, no real family, and no friends, it is time to remake her life yet again. The disappearing is the easy part. The hard part is staying alive long enough to get to the easy part.
What an amazing writer! And When She Was Good is oh so good!!
The character of Helen/Heloise just jumps off the page. We see the why and the how her life made this journey. Terrible circumstances and poor choices made to escape those circumstances put her on this path. A believable path, easy to understand, leads her to this dangerous situation.
I was afraid at first that this was going to be a pretty stereotypical story, abused child grows up to become a prostitute, etc. But Lippman took the story in another direction. She brought out the mother’s love for her son. A son with a life so very different from her own. She had two parents in a harmful environment with a mother who put her husband’s needs and her safety ahead of the needs and safety of her daughter. Heloise is doing everything for her son to protect him and give him the life she never had. She is making her decisions putting him first. Most of the people around her don’t even know she has a son. She lives to keep him safe. Aside from the danger she now faces she knew there would come a time that her life would need to take a new direction. As her son matured it would be much more difficult to hide or explain the truth about how she makes a living. The present situation just moved up her timetable and she needs to make the right choices this time.
The story travels back and forth through time and that kept the pages turning at a very rapid pace. It is a story of survival. A small reminder of nature versus nurture. With different parents Helen would have traveled down a very different path. There would have been no Heloise. This is one of those books that will make you want to hug your kids tight after reading it.
About This Author
Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working fulltime and published seven books about “accidental PI” Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001. Her work has been awarded the Edgar ®, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards. She also has been nominated for other prizes in the crime fiction field, including the Hammett and the Macavity. She was the first-ever recipient of the Mayor’s Prize for Literary Excellence and the first genre writer recognized as Author of the Year by the Maryland Library Association.
Ms. Lippman grew up in Baltimore and attended city schools through ninth grade. After graduating from Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, Md., Ms. Lippman attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Her other newspaper jobs included the Waco Tribune-Herald and the San Antonio Light.
Ms. Lippman returned to Baltimore in 1989 and has lived there since. She is the daughter of Theo Lippman Jr., a Sun editorial writer who retired in 1995 but continues to freelance for several newspapers, and Madeline Mabry Lippman, a former Baltimore City school librarian.
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