I finished this novel by Joyce Maynard called After Her rather quickly and passed it on to my friend Jill to read. She devoured it in a few days, and she gave it back to me. I am going to write this review before all my thoughts are out of my head, and so I can pass this book on to my other friend, Tracy. It is that kind of book that you want all the people you know to read this book. The book will not be release until August, but please put this on your list of MUST READS.
This is the story of two sisters: Rachel & Patty. It is the late 1970’s in northern California, and life is about to get interesting in Marin County. Their father is a handsome and kind, yet absent father. He is occupied by two things: 1. his job as detective 2. his girls on the side. They live with their mother who is the definition of the no-supervision parent. She may be physically present in the house, but her mind is elsewhere. She spends lots of time locked in her room reading, and the girls are left to fend for themselves. They like it this way. They explore the mountain that is behind their house, the make up stories about all the people they encounter, and they figure out a way to buy groceries and take care of the house and themselves. Their relationship is one that I have always longed to have….I have always wanted a sister who knew me so well, and vice versa. Someone I could always count on and trust with all my thoughts and dreams. Someone I could be myself around and she be her own person…and we could be nothing alike and yet everything alike. Though I never had a blood sister, I have found a friend who has become more like a sister to me than anything. I treasure that and hold it close to me. It is a rare thing.
So as I said, things were about to get interesting on that mountain. A serial killer has come to play….women begin to show up murdered on the mountain behind Rachel & Patty’s house, and their father is in charge of the case. He is nicknamed “the Sunset Strangler”, and all are warned off the mountain…and one would be downright stupid to go alone. Well, since we know the girls’ father is rather busy, and their mother is occupied. The sisters become intrigued with the case and think they can solve it. They eavesdrop on their father’s conversations and try to piece things together, but things get a little too real with their investigation and they are faced with real danger. Will their father be there to help them? What about their mother? Friends…a neighbor? It was truly a page-turner until the end, and once again I thought I knew who the killer was….and once again I was proven wrong. When will I learn? I loved reading about growing up in the 70’s since this was when I was a child and remember so much from that decade. I treasure my memories of being outside all summer exploring everything with my brother and friends. We did not have helicopter parents back then and were able to create our own experiences without everything being scheduled and rushed. This book reminded me of that wonderful period of my life. I loved the relationship between the sisters in this book, I loved the suspense, and I loved the surprises of this novel. Must read more by Joyce Maynard.