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Review: Girl Unknown by Karen Perry

Title: Girl Unknown
Author: Karen Perry
Year Published: 2018

Genre: Adult fiction
Pages: 304
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2018 Google Reading map)Ireland

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): David and Caroline Connolly are swimming successfully through their marriage’s middle years—raising two children; overseeing care for David’s ailing mother; leaning into their careers, both at David’s university teaching job, where he’s up for an important promotion, and at the ad agency where Caroline has recently returned to work after years away while the children were little. The recent stresses of home renovation and of a brief romantic betrayal (Caroline’s) are behind them.

The Connollys know and care for each other deeply. Then one early fall afternoon, a student of sublime, waiflike beauty appears in David’s university office and says, “I think you might be my father.” And the fact of a youthful passion that David had tried to forget comes rushing back. In the person of this intriguing young woman, the Connollys may have a chance to expand who they are and how much they can love, or they may be making themselves vulnerable to menace. They face either an opportunity or a threat—but which is which? What happens when their hard-won family happiness meets a hard-luck beautiful girl?

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Review: I think it's pretty cool that the author of this book is actually two people: Irish authors Karen Gillece and Paul Perry. I wonder how difficult it is to write a book with another person?!

While it took me a little while to get into this book, I liked the intrigue of wondering what was going to happen and how would each character respond. I wanted to know if Zoe was good or bad, was she going to ruin things for everyone involved or should we feel sorry for her and what she has gone through?

I have always enjoyed novels with multiple narrators and this one has two: Caroline and David alternate telling the story, which is good because we get to hear how at least two of the characters are feeling about Zoe. I also liked the Irish setting and the turn of a phrase that is Irish. I always forget how young the Irish and the Brits begin drinking so that caught my eye as well. Maybe that's because I've seen it with my own relatives who live in the UK.

The characters are the part of the novel that I am trying to reconcile my feelings with because I don't have sympathy for any of them. The main couple, David and Caroline are tense, untrusting, and secretive. Not even their obvious love for their children is enough to get them to get their acts together. Zoe... well, I can't say much about her that won't give away the plot so you'll just have to trust me when I say I don't feel for her. It's not that I don't think the characters are well done, they are. I just don't like them.

So how do I feel about this novel? I liked it, but I am not sure it will stay with me because I feel so anti-the characters. But now that I've said that, I wonder if they will stay with me for a long time since I dislike them. We'll just have to wait and see. 

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