Review of ‘Give it Back’

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Ella Jensen, at 33, is a strong and independent woman who tends to shy away from emotional entanglements. But, when her older sister, Lorraine, calls and informs her that she has terminal cancer and needs her, the wall she’s built to keep people out begins to crumble. She leaves her job as a forensic pathologist in San Diego and travels to Seattle to help her sister, and in short order finds herself enmeshed in the lives of many people. First, there’s Lorraine, whose brain tumor has affected her memory to the point that her stories of events change from day to day, and she can no longer read a newspaper. Then, there’s Lexy, the British au pair, who has traveled from London to Seattle to help Lorraine care for her youngest son, Sam, but who is, in fact, looking for something, or someone, else.

When Lexy, and Lorraine’s oldest son, Logan, disappear, the stakes are raised, and Ella is thrust into the role of solving this mystery, while at the same time taking care of Lorraine and Sam.

Give it Back by Danielle Esplin is a mystery, but it’s also a story of coming to terms with dysfunctional family relationships, of facing death, and of learning to love. The author switches point of view among three characters, Ella, Lorraine, and Lexy, as she constructs a tense drama, leading to a conclusion that will shock you. Nothing in this story is what it seems at first glance. The characters are so fully formed, you’re likely to recognize someone you know, or think you know. Esplin is an author to keep an eye out for.

I received a free copy of this book.

An excellent first novel. I give it four stars.

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