Book review: Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

Saturday, April 18, 2015 Permalink

Molly Sanderson, husband Justin and 5yr old daughter Ella have started life afresh in Ridgedale.

Justin’s position as a tenured English professor at Ridgedale University provided the perfect opportunity for the much-needed change. A former expert in legislative policy for the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, Molly left her job after her recent pregnancy resulted in a stillbirth. Shunning her previous profession Molly’s found work at the local newspaper predominantly covering local events, recovering from the depression which (understandably) swallowed her since losing her baby.

When the usual ‘crime’ reporter is unavailable Molly finds herself assigned a case involving a dead body. Unsure she’s up to the challenge her fears are trebled when she discovers the body is that of a newborn child. Despite this initial reticence, feeling the case will offer her some sense of closure or purpose Molly finds herself tracking down leads… some of which point to those she’s come to think of as friends, including Stella whose son attends preschool with Ella.

Molly’s investigation also leads her to the University which seems to hold a number of secrets, possibly even the key to the baby’s identity. And although the police dismiss the theory, Molly believes the baby or its mother may have ties to a twenty-year-old accidental death which took place at the same location the baby’s body was found.

Where They Found Her

In the background readers meet Sandy—a teenage girl trying to put herself through school and intent on a better life. Unfortunately she’s battling people’s perceptions and her own mother’s lack of support. And then there’s Barbara, the Chief of Police’s wife—a troubled woman determined to protect her family at all costs.

Author Kimberly McCreight introduces quite the cast of characters, but—as is often the case in a small town—all are connected and known to each other in some way. It means, however, that we have a variety of suspects ALL sharing half-truths and struggling to trust each other.

I enjoyed this read from McCreight. It’s written in first person from Molly’s point of view so we’re offered insight into her relationship with Justin and Ella. Transcripts from interviews between Molly and her therapist (after she lost her baby) and diary entries are included along with Molly’s newspaper reports for the Ridgedale Reader.

McCreight also offers chapters from Sandy’s point of view and nails her teenage voice. It’s bloody hard not to be cheering Sandy on—she’s got so much to overcome and is an impressive young lady. I found Barbara less engaging, but then again, she’s meant to be a prickly character and one who’s hard to read. Also featured are diary entries by Sandy’s now-missing mother (as a teenager). We start to see the baby’s death may be more complex than first thought and uncovering its identity could result in far-reaching reverberations.

Things are not always as they seem in Ridgedale and people are not who you think. I’m fairly sure there’s a lesson or two in there and McCreight delivers it deftly and with several surprises offering a thriller which delves into motherhood, family, relationships and trust.

Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight is published in Australia by Simon & Schuster and was released earlier this month.

I received a copy from the publisher for review purposes. 

  • Coco
    April 20, 2015

    I’ve been hearing a lot about this book. I decided to start with Reconstructing Amelia …

    • Debbish
      April 20, 2015

      I hope you enjoy it!