Sunday, April 21, 2013

There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron

Although There was an Old Woman was not at all what I expected, I was pleasantly surprised.  I also think that this is one of the better books I’ve read so far this year. While it doesn't have the intensity that is usually consistent with a psychological thriller, I still think it belongs in that category. If you are waiting for a slasher to jump out and cut someone’s throat, this isn’t the book for you, but if you like a slower steady story that reaches a climax and has well-developed characters, you will like There was an Old Woman.

It was a good story that held my interest but I also found myself totally annoyed with the main character.  The family dynamics with sisters’ resentment of each other and their mother plays a large role in the story.

Evie is called to her childhood home to help her hospitalized mother. She finds that in a short amount of time her mother’s home and health have inexplicably deteriorated dramatically.  Evie becomes involved in events that surround her mother’s neighbor, Mina, an active 91 year old.

Mina is a wonderful portrayal of this elderly character.  She is determined and active, but not the stereotypical depiction I often see of the wise crackin’ grandma.  She is strong, but reserved and refined.

My only disappointment was that the mysterious story from Mina’s past of Mina was lacking the drama I expected, but did still enjoy the book very much.


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