The Girl from Widow Hills is the third book I’ve read by Megan Miranda and each has been very different though all nice and twisty.
In some ways it’s a familiar premise… a young woman running from her past gets caught up in a murder that means her secrets are uncovered. I fully expected it to be slightly cliched with our lead Olivia, becoming the police’s key suspect. Interestingly however, it’s really only Olivia who second-guesses herself.
The Girl from Widow Hills
by Megan Miranda
Published by Corvus
Source: Allen & Unwin
Genres: Thriller / Suspense, Psychological Thriller
ISBN: 1838951083, 9781838950743
When Arden Mayes was six years old, she was swept away in terrifying storm and went missing for days. Against all odds, she was found alive, clinging to a storm drain. A living miracle. Arden's mother wrote a book, and fame followed. But so did fans, creeps and stalkers. It was all too much, and as soon as she was old enough, Arden changed her name and left Widow Hills behind.
Now, a young woman living hundreds of miles away, Arden is known as Olivia. With the twentieth anniversary of her rescue looming, media interest in the girl who survived is increasing. The stress brings back the night terrors of Olivia's youth. Often, she finds herself out of bed in the middle of the night, sometimes outside her home, even streets away. Then one evening she jolts awake in her yard, with the corpse of a man at her feet.
Olivia’s not sleepwalked (why isn’t the past tense sleptwalked I wonder?!) since her childhood, but a reminder from her past means memories have returned in a way she’d not prefer. Although in reality, we learn Olivia doesn’t really remember much about her days as the little girl lost in floodwater. It’s more of a sense… one of trepidation about containment and escape.
She’s certainly moved on with her life and no one in her present is aware of her history so she’s suspicious when the murdered man has links to her past wondering who – other than herself of course – would have motivation to kill?
I would have liked a little more context about Olivia’s life as Arden. Miranda cleverly gives us the story of Arden’s disappearance and rescue via media clippings and interviews so we’re privy to a limited amount of information about the event. I was keen (however) to know a little more about the ‘after’ and the next 10 or 20 years. Miranda offers it up in dribs and drabs, a reflection I suspect that Olivia cares to remember little about her childhood. I felt however, her antipathy towards her mother and her mother’s spiral into drugs / alcohol could – perhaps – have been explored a little more.
Miranda gives us a well-paced thriller here and though the past and present could have been blended a little better we’re offered a number of potential suspects from Olivia’s present life… and of course there’s the possibility this has nothing to do with her past at all and is about someone else.
The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda was published in Australia by Allen & Unwin and now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.