Book Tour: Girl Unknown
by: Karen Perry
Finished on: February 1, 2018
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Thank you to Henry Holt & Co for providing me with a free finished copy of this book for review purposes and for inviting me along for the blog tour. All opinions below are my own.
Girl Unknown is told from dualing viewpoints - David (a college faculty member) and his wife Caroline. Even from the start of the novel, David and Caroline are going through some marital issues. Enter Zoe - the adult daughter from a previous relationship than David never knew about. Will Zoe's presence topple this already teetering family?
David - assistant or associate professor at a university in Ireland
Caroline - David's wife and previous stay-at-home mother, now back to work for the first time in many years
Zoe - David's surprise new 19-year-old daughter
Robbie - David and Caroline's teenage son
Holly - David and Caroline's eleven year old daughter
About the author:
Karen Perry is the pen name of Karen Gillece and Paul Perry. Both of the authors are located in Ireland. This is the second title by this duo.
Girl Unknown was not my typical read. While I enjoy a range of genres, I tend to pick up quick suspense, lighter fantasy, literary fiction or science fiction. I went into this novel thinking it was a psychological thriller and kept finding myself waiting for a twist...that just didn't' happen. What was I missing? To properly enjoy this novel, you need to go in thinking that it will be more of a family drama with a few twists towards the end. This will save you the questioning that plagued me for a large portion of the text.
Genre aside, Girl Unknown is a pretty interesting read. I just recently left my position as a faculty member at a large university (although in the United States), so I found it interesting to see David's work struggles play out. There is definitely a unique set of stressors when working in academia. I think that the authors did a great job portraying this job position, although the granted days off and leave of absences would have been unlikely in the United States.
The characters were a bit difficult for me to handle. David was extremely naive for much of the novel. I find it hard to believe that someone would be so trusting in today's society. While I appreciated that Caroline seemed to be finding her place in the world, she rarely stood up for herself and came across as a weak or submissive wife. It is difficult for me when I don't actually LIKE many of the characters in a novel. That being said, the characters had an overall "real" feeling to them. No character was truly good or bad - all were flawed. And, at some level, aren't we all?
Overall, the reason that I have difficulty rating the book much higher is that David and Caroline were written to be such self-involved parents who expected their kids to do fine on their own. Their parenting style and how they let everything in their life tear at their family, affecting their children, all while not noticing any big problems, was bothersome.
I definitely applaud the authors for writing a tense family drama that throws several twists right at the end. Personally, I would have loved some earlier twists or less foreshadowing in order to enjoy this a bit more. I think many readers will enjoy the writing style and the chance to escape to Ireland for the duration of the novel.