Monday, August 4, 2014

Elizabeth is Missing; Emma Healey

Elizabeth is Missing; Emma Healey
Harper - June 2014


Maud Horsham is an elderly woman with dementia who is desperate to find her friend Elizabeth, who she believes is missing and in danger. She tries to make her daughter Helen, granddaughter, Katy, her doctor and even the police realize the urgency in finding Elizabeth. Maud seems certain about her friend's disappearance, despite reassurances by others to the contrary -- this from a woman who sometimes doesn't recognize her own family.  No matter how much she tries to let go of her obsession about her friend's well-being, she cannot let it pass.

As the reader, I found Maud to be a compelling and likeable character. I found myself anxiously turning the pages trying to find out what's the real deal with Elizabeth? The story takes the reader on a journey back to Maud's traumatic childhood, WWII era, when her sister Sukey went missing and was never found. Maud's memory of those younger days, particularly during the time when her sister Sukey went missing seemed crystal clear.


I found Maud to be my favorite kind of narrator -- sympathetic and yet unreliable. As the storyline moved from present to past and back again, some events seemed confused and unclear, just like Maud's mind. I enjoyed reading about the spirited, feisty Maud in her youth, as much as the confused, anxious woman in her declining years. What could have been a sad story, given the dementia factor,  actually had me smiling from time to time, but yet the author never pokes fun at the seriousness of dementia either. 

Elizabeth is Missing is a terrific debut novel that kept me guessing as I read. There were even a few twists that were quite unexpected.  Readers who enjoy psychological mysteries will enjoy this one. Emma Healey is a talented new voice to watch for moving forward.


4.5/5 stars
(eGalley and audio download)

Davina Porter narrates the audio version and did a terrific job.

15 comments:

  1. This does sound compelling. I like that fact that Maud is unreliable without an ulterior motive.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think I would like Maud too!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love psychological mysteries, and this sounds wonderful! Thanks, Diane.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am glad to hear you liked this one, Diane. I have been curious about it, but admit the fact that the main character has dementia is a bit off putting to me. My grandmother suffered from it, and it's a difficult subject for me to read about.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This sounds like a very readable, engaging book about dementia. Excellent review, Diane!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This one was tough for me. My grandmother is in the early stages of dementia and reading a book where the main character has dementia was almost too much for me. Overall it was a good book, but I still don't know how I managed to get all the way through it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've been intrigued by this one and it sounds like it's definitely worth giving a try. The dementia aspect is a little intimidating but I think this sounds worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have this book in print, but since Davina narrates, I may have to listen instead.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I loved this book, too....glad you enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Just finished We Are Not Ourselves and not sure I can deal with another dementia/Alzheimer's novel for a while, but I do want to read this. Even more now that it has your stamp of approval!

    ReplyDelete
  11. It seems to be the new thing to have an unreliable narrator. I've got The Stone Boy on my shelf, and the protagonist is similar.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This sound like a wonderful debut novel. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I like how she is the one with dementia and not the missing Elizabeth. Makes for an interesting story, I'm sure.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Ooohhh. Off to Goodreads to add this :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. This definitely sounds like a book I'd enjoy! I've had an eye on it for a while.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to visit and double thanks for any comments. If you ask a question in your comments, I will try to reply to it here, or by email if your settings allow me to do so. Thank again for visiting.

(I apologize for the word verification, spammers spoil it for all sadly.)