Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Book Review: Emily, Gone by Bette Lee Crosby

Title: Emily, Gone
Author: Bette Lee Crosby
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: April 30th 2019
Genre: Women's Fiction
A missing child sets the lives of three women on a collision course in this powerful and compelling novel by USA Today bestselling author Bette Lee Crosby.


When a music festival rolls through the sleepy town of Hesterville, Georgia, the Dixon family’s lives are forever changed. On the final night, a storm muffles the sound of the blaring music, and Rachel tucks her baby into bed before falling into a deep sleep. So deep, she doesn’t hear the kitchen door opening. When she and her husband wake up in the morning, the crib is empty. Emily is gone.

Vicki Robart is one of the thousands at the festival, but she’s not feeling the music. She’s feeling the emptiness over the loss of her own baby several months before. When she leaves the festival and is faced with an opportunity to fill that void, she is driven to an act of desperation that will forever bind the lives of three women.

When the truth of what actually happened that fateful night is finally exposed, shattering the lives they’ve built, will they be able to pick up the pieces to put their families back together again?

I have been a fan of author Bette Lee Crosby since reading her book The Summer of New Beginnings.  When I heard of her latest book, Emily, Gone, I knew I would have to read it sooner rather than later. Miss Crosby did not disappoint at all with this one.

Six month old Emily's parents are beyond exhausted due to a music festival very close to their house during 1971. After laying Emily down in her crib in her room, Emily's parents, Rachel and George Dixon, go to their room and finally have a good night's sleep. In the morning when Rachel checks on baby Emily, she is missing from her crib. Vicki gave birth to a stillborn baby girl about a month before Emily was born. When Vicki and her boyfriend decide to stop at a random house to get some food after the festival late one night, it's the perfect opportunity for her to steal baby Emily. What follows is a years long search for Emily all the while Emily is being raised by Vicki and her family. Will Rachel and George ever be united with their Emily?

I enjoyed the plot for Emily, Gone immensely. There are no plot holes or cliffhangers, and Bette Lee Crosby writes about 1971 and the subsequent years very well. It's as if I was transported back in time to that era. Everything flows together smoothly. I found myself wanting Rachel and George to be reunited with Emily quickly, but that wasn't the case. Back in 1971, things like the internet and Amber Alerts weren't a thing, so as frustrating as it was, I could see how hard it would be to recover a kidnapped child. I wish the story would have involved Murph, Vicki's boyfriend, a bit more. He's in the story for about halfway and that's about it. I would have liked to know about him in the epilogue at least. Also, I did find the ending a bit far fetched albeit it probable. It just seems like it would have been highly unlikely. Bette Lee Crosby does touch on the Christian faith lightly throughout this book which could explain the ending.

I found the characters in Emily, Gone to be written superbly. All of them were fleshed out enough to feel like a real person instead of a character in a book. My heart went out to Rachel throughout the years without her Emily. George, Emily's father, had better coping mechanisms, but I still felt bad to him. I can't imagine, and I don't even want to imagine what it would be like if someone kidnapped one of my kids. Mama Dixon was my favorite character in the book. I loved what a warm presence she was throughout the novel to her family. I felt like she was part of my family as well! Although Vicki was written well, I just did not like her. I found her to be very selfish, and I suppose that's because she was mentally ill after the stillborn birth of her baby girl. I kept silently pleading with her to do the right thing and return Emily. I kept wanting her to get caught so she could get the help she needed and the Dixons could have their baby back. I liked Murph, Vicki's boyfriend, but I wish he would have done the right thing and told someone what Vicki had done. In a way, I understand why he didn't turn Vicki in, but it would have been better for everyone in the long run. In a way, my heart also went out to Angela and Kenny for being pulled into Vicki's mess. They were also completely innocent of everything.

I found the pacing to be perfect from the very first page to the very last page. Every time I had to stop reading Emily, Gone I felt like I was leaving a long lost friend, and I couldn't wait to return.

Trigger warnings for Emily, Gone include some drug references, kidnapping, stillborn birth, mental illness, death, some alcohol use, slight references to child molestation, incest, and other sexual references (such as couples making love, nothing graphic).

Overall, Emily, Gone is a highly interesting read with an entertaining plot that will hold you tight and not let go of you until you're done reading! This is one of those stories that will tug at your heartstrings. I would definitely recommend Emily, Gone by Bette Lee Crosby to everyone aged 17+ who would love a fantastically written emotional story.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this book sounds intriguing! I will have to add it to my books to read list. Thank you for sharing this review. Now I really want to read it. :)