#BookLoves Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

Title

Emma in the Night

Author

Wendy Walker is the author of the psychological suspense novels All Is Not ForgottenEmma In the NightThe Night BeforeDon’t Look For Me and American Girl. Her novels have been translated into 23 foreign languages, topped bestseller lists both nationally and abroad, and have been optioned for both television and film.

Wendy holds degrees from Brown University and Georgetown Law School, and has worked in finance and several areas of the law. As a former family law attorney with training in child advocacy, Wendy draws from her knowledge of trauma and psychology to write compelling and complex characters and stories.

*From the author’s website: wendywalkerbooks.com.

Format

Audio Book

Narrators

Therese Plummer & Julia Whelan

Summary

Two girls go missing. Three years later, only one comes home. What happened to Emma?

One night, teenage sisters Cass and Emma disappear from their affluent, suburban home. Three years later, with just the clothes on her back and no evidence of where she’s been, Cass returns—without her sister. She talks of kidnapping and isolation, and a mysterious island where the two were held. But her story has holes—and it’s up to forensic psychologist Dr. Abby Winter to find the missing sister, Emma, and uncover what really happened in their tortured past. The truth will shock even Cass herself—a tale of fear, family and what it will take to survive her own past.

*From the author’s website: wendywalkerbooks.com.

Stars

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

WOWOWOWOWOW. 

I thought that might be all that I could type. When this book started out, I knew things were not as they seemed, but man did Wendy Walker blow my mind with the whole of the tale. Through a seemingly never-ending twist of lies on all sides, we finally come to the heart-breaking truth. What startled me is just how much I could understand Cass Tanner’s actions, even if I didn’t agree with them and wouldn’t consider them for myself. Walker gives us a fantastic cast of characters who learn together, whose eyes are opened so gradually to the real story just as ours are. 

I primarily stick with Christian fiction, especially when it comes to mystery and thriller novels. Often I find that novels in these subsets of general fiction contain so much darkness that I leave feeling incredibly depressed and overwhelmed. Walker does include some adult content and language, so beware of that should you decide to give it a read or a listen. Honestly, one of the things I love most is the way the title is slowly revealed throughout the book. 

As far as relationships, I adore Dr. Winter’s relationship with her friend and mentor Leo, as well as her compassion for Cass. Plus, Cass’s relationship with her brother, Whit, is sweet and endearing. No matter how dark the novel got, one thing Walker does well is encourage adults to pay attention, to ask questions, to speak up when things seem wrong, to be a safe place for teens. The reality is, we can’t know what’s going on in someone else’s life unless they tell us or we see it. But everyone needs someone they can trust, someone to be on their side, someone to fight for them. 

And in the darkness in these characters’ lives, maybe we all see the darkness in our own lives that we’d rather not acknowledge. Walker takes us on a journey that pushes that truth in our faces and makes us wrestle with it. For me, as a Christian, it made me thankful once again that Jesus came to defeat that darkness, and in Him, I am free from it.

I listened to the audio book through Libby, a library app for audiobooks and ebooks. The narrators, Therese Plummer and Julia Whelan are phenomenal. So, if you have this option, I definitely suggest listening to it. 

Warnings

As I said, there’s definitely some strong language and other adult content—including not explicit but somewhat graphic sexual content. For people who grew up with a narcissistic parent or in an abusive home, this book, or at least parts of it, could be triggering. 

Quotable

Seeing the future is a worthless gift when you don’t have the power to change it.

Cass, Chapter 1, 18:01

A story is more than the recounting of events. The events are the sketch. The outline. But It is the colors and the landscape and the medium and the artists hand that make it what it is in the end. 

Cass, Chapter 1, 22:51

But because I knew the truth, because I knew what all the other pictures looked like—the ones that didn’t make it to the wall in our hallway, the ones that were never even taken at all—the rude awakening was not what she had said but instead the realization that grownups can be wrong. They can be stupid and inept and lazy at their jobs and that they won’t always believe you even when you’re telling the truth. 

And when they have power over you, these stupid inept people who can’t see what’s right in front of them, when they don’t believe you when you tell them, bad things can happen.

Cass, Chapter 7, 2:39-2:40:10

My Take

We can never truly know what goes on behind closed doors—what life is really like for people at home. Hold your loved ones close, let them know you love them. Be a safe place for the hurting, listening for the cries people can’t bring themselves to utter. And don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it.

Click here to find out where to purchase your own copy.

I’d love to hear from you! What Wendy Walker book is your favorite? What were your thoughts on this one? What other thrillers have you read and enjoyed? Or what are you reading right now that you really love? Drop a comment below!

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