Review: Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

Hi Munchworms!

33574211I’ve been on a huge reading spree lately – again. So get ready for another review!

A while ago I received the ARC for Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker. So first off, I want to thank Netgalley, Wendy Walker and St. Martin’s Press for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book!

The cover is actually the first thing that piqued my interest when I was browsing through Netgalley. It’s just so fitting to the title and looks amazing. So I read the synopsis. And that did not disappointed me either! On the contrary, I was ready to dive in!

If you’re asking why, it’s the “dysfunctional family” that did it. I wanted to find out if I would be able to relate to Emma since I – like many others out there – didn’t have an easy youth when it comes to family either. My mother and I always knew there was something off about my father, so I’ve been pretty interested in any kind of mental illnesses that are implemented in a book.

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.

This book was just… wow… I have to say that this book will be confronting for anyone that has lived or been under the influence of a narcissist. You recognize a lot of what is being said and described. Things you wouldn’t have thought of before, now jump right at you screaming “Yes, this!” Or at least, that’s what I had.

I always keep my notebook with me when I’m reading a book that looks promising, in case I want to write some stuff down to use in my reviews or just jot down a quote real quickly. With this book? I had reached chapter seven and three pages were scribbled, not to mention all the quotes I highlighted on my Kindle. So you can say that this book left a mark on me. I won’t be forgetting it any time soon.

Before actually saying something about the story, I just need to praise Wendy Walker for doing this. For giving such a clear image of how it can be, how it is to live with a person like that. To have that influence your life, your being and your future. There are people out there who think that once you’ve ‘escaped’ that person, everything’s all right. But it is not. Being under the influence of a narcissist is something that scars you for life. You have to fight every day to erase and avoid their influence. Wendy Walker succeeded at bringing that forward perfectly in the most brilliant way possible.

There are so many pieces to our story, pieces that, if taken away, might have changed the whole course of it. And it’s not just the big things.

You get a clear image of how Cass’ life was like before she and her sister disappeared. The way things are explained makes you want to find out what exactly happened. What lead them to disappear? Why is Cass back and Emma still missing? Where did they disappear to? I caught myself thinking up all kinds of theories as the story went on. Each time I had a new theory, I would read something that undid it completely. So I had to find a new theory, and another one, and another one.

The book is told from two POV‘s. First you have Cass, the youngest sister who suddenly shows up at her mother’s doorstep three years after she went missing. When Cass is telling her story, you notice how detached she feels from everything, how objective she is about her surroundings. She notices things that others her age wouldn’t notice and that makes you wonder what in the world she had to go through that made her grow up so quickly.
The second POV is Abby Winter, the forensic psychiatrist that was involved in the case when Cass and Emma just went missing. She has a story of her own that unfolds slowly, but remains vague, as the book progresses and explains why she hasn’t been able to let go of Cass and Emma in all those years.
Those POV’s together make sure you grab the complete story. You really need both characters to grab the complete story.

When it comes to Wendy Walker’s writing style, I struggled sometimes. As I said, Cass felt detached and that was obvious in the writing as well, in such a way that I couldn’t really feel Cass like I normally feel characters. I could relate to her, though; that was no problem. But I just didn’t feel her.
The one thing that did annoy me was the lack of flashbacks. Cass’ story is told as Cass is telling it to everyone around her, just like that. Personally, I’d just preferred it if flashbacks were used, so maybe I would get a real feel of Cass after all but that just did not happen.

I would rather live half as long feeling alive than twice as long feeling dead already.

Too bad for that minor annoyance I had, so I’m giving this book 4,5/5.

If you’re someone who likes to come up with theories along the way to find out what happened, with an unexpected twist at the end of the book… Or maybe someone who wants to read a book about mental illnesses? Read this!
I will, without a doubt, reread this book, recommend this book to certain friends. Honestly? I’ve already pre-ordered it so I can display it in my bookcase.
This book is being published August 8th, so one week from now!

You can already pre-order this book, though! So check out Amazon, BookDepository or any other site you feel like using and pre-order it immediately!
Seriously, I already did.
Or you can add it to your Goodreads-TBR.

No munches this time, because I just don’t know what I should link to this book. Maybe someday I will. Maybe you have an idea? Let me know!


This book was provided to me through NetGalley, thanks to St. Martin's Press. This is my honest review for which I'm not being compensated in any way.



5 thoughts on “Review: Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

  1. It’s great to hear you found so much in this novel, it had an impact on you while you were reading it. I might have some problems with the detached style however, as you I like to feel the characters. If I can’t build up a connection, it’s highly likely that I won’t really love a novel. It has some pros and cons for me so I’m still debating, although you make it sound alluring 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It did feel detached at points. Pretty sure that could’ve been solved partly if there were some kind of flashbacks instead of all the talking.
      It’s also pretty personal to me, so that leaves its influence as well of course.

      Thank you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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