Reader reviews for And When She Was Good

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I received "And When She Was Good" as an advanced readers' copy. I understand sometimes authors will make changes before publication, so this review is based on the ARC.I liked the book. It was good, not great. It held my attention and would make a good summer reading choice for the beach. There isn't a whole lot of thinking that needs to go into reading the book which makes it a nice summer read.
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I won this from the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.This was a fantastically written, very compelling book. It was not the murder mystery that I thought it was, and if I hadn't been mistaken I might have skipped it and truly missed out on an excellent read. I will definitely be checking out some of Laura's other books because I really did like her writing.
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Yes, twists and turns are one of the things you will find in a good story. Of course, it's a fine balance. Too many twists and the story can be irritating and unreadable. Too few, and perhaps the story can be lackluster and boring. A fine balance needs to be struck don't you think? And then there are endings. Endings are important. I like happy endings most, but life doesn't always give us a happy ending. And if all stories had such endings, if thre were no suspense as to how the story would finally come to a close, why that would be no fun. And When She Was Good, has twists, it has turns and it too comes to a close eventually, which means it has an ending. Whether or not it is a happy one, I leave to you to find out. Heloise is the main character. To be honest with you, I didn't like her much. This worked against my enjoyment of the story for a while, because I do prefer to like the characters I'm spending so much time with. But Heloise was just not likable to me. Now you may well feel differently about her. That's one of the enjoyable things about reading, is differing opinions and lively discussion of whatever book is on topic at the moment. So, even though She is a single mom who is providing a good life for her son, I didn't like her. It had nothing to do with her livelihood, I assure you. In fact, I have had a fantasy or two about that being a perfect job. No, it wasn't what she did for a living, as much as it was just her personality and her dishonesty. Now, I realize that some discretion was necessary for her, but I thought she carried it a little far for my taste. I think that this story had a decent beginning, and I think it had a very interesting ending. I also think that it dragged just a bit in the second quarter of the book. I felt as if it was just a tad too drawn out. By then we knew who Heloise was and where she stood and why. By the third quarter of the book the pace picked up again and I felt a little more sympathetic towards her, but just a little. I do like books about strong women though. Heloise had her faults, but weakness was not one of them. She is very typical in her need to care for her son and proved for them in the best possible way. She did not ever have an easy time of it. From the time she was a very young girl, she had battles to fight. And fight she did, but she did not come through them unscathed. Who does?This is a good story. I should have known that this author would deliver. She has done so for me before. I would definitely recommend this one to friends and family. And I would recommend it to you, too !
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Crime fiction is not a genre I frequently read, but I am a fan of the TV shows Weeds and Breaking Bad, so Laura Lippman's novel And When She Was Good, about a suburban single mom who runs a prostitution business, intrigued me. (I also live a block away from the place where a woman in NYC was accused of running a high-priced call girl ring.)We meet teenage Helen, verbally abused by her unemployed father, a man separated from his wife and children, and living with Helen and her mother. He becomes more and more erratic and Helen becomes involved with the son of the owner of the restaurant where she works to make money for college.The boyfriend is a troubled guy, a drug user, and convinces Helen to run away with him. Helen ends up working at a strip club and eventually as a prostitute. She trades in the bad boyfriend for Val, who is even worse, a serious pimp with a bad temper and a gun. When Val kills a man and Helen becomes pregnant, she plots her escape.Flash forward and Helen is now Heloise, living in the suburbs and raising her twelve-year-old son. She is also running an internet prostitution ring, along with the help of her au pair/assistant Audrey. The only other person she can count on is Tom, a cop who knows what she does and protects her because she once helped him.Heloise keeps a low profile:"She always stands apart on the soccer field, her conversations with the other mothers polite yet fleeting. She's not sure whose fault that is. She stopped trying to figure out if she's standoffish because other mothers snub her or if she's snubbed because the other mothers sense she's standoffish. For the most part, she tells herself that's she's happy for their neglect... True, she encourages incuriosity in most people. Yet it's still hurtful to see how easily people fall into line with one's desire to be ignored."When another suburban madam's murder is made to look like suicide, and Heloise discovers that the man she put behind bars may be getting out of prison and one of her former employees tries to blackmail her, things begin to fall apart.And When She Was Good is a page-turner of a novel, with twists and turns, and you will read it in one sitting. Helen is a tough, smart, resourceful lady, but like Walter White from Breaking Bad and Nancy Botwin from Weeds, Helen sees a secret life of crime as her only solution to the problem of making enough money to support her family, but also like them, she discovers that her decision is bound to catch up with her.The writing is crisp, the characters (even the minor ones) interesting, and the tension ratchets up with each turn of the page. I chewed off more than a few fingernails by the end. (I know, a bad habit) Lippman writes a crackling good novel, and I will be looking for more of her books when I'm in the mood for crime fiction.
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From then on, she flees from situation to another dangerous situation to another.This is not a story of sex; it is one of survival, loneliness and living by your wits. Helen ached for a loving father and mother so she did the opposite of them. She became a great mother to her son. She could never tell her neighbors about herself and not even tell her son anything about his father. Her intelligence shone through by the way that she organized her business but she was always craving a real education. She always had to figure out how to change her life. And the unraveling of the mystery of why the death of the suburban madam is so important to the story grows more important as the story develops.I highly recommend this book to all Laura Lippman fans.Although I received this book from the Amazon Vine Program, that in no way influenced my review.
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Read from September 16 to 19, 2012I liked this book, I mean, I kept reading until it was finished. But there was something about the end that just left me a little disappointed. Heloise is a strong female lead that made a bad choice when she was in high school that she's been paying for ever since. (At least that's the way I read it.) I liked that Heloise never saw herself as a victim and she was definitely a protective mother. I think my problem with the end was the way the past and the present converged. When I saw that we were in 2011, I wasn't sure if that was the present or a year ago. It threw me off. Then everything just cleaned up so nicely at the end. It was too clean, I think.Still a good read though and I nice introduction to Lippman's writing (this is my first Laura Lippman experience).
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And When She Was Good is labeled as a mystery by the library, however, while there are some unknowns, this it really isn't a classic who-done-it mystery. It is very interesting and well written, but we really know who the "bad" guy is through the whole book.
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Had a harder time with this one than I usually do with Lippmans' novels. Not sure if it because I didn't really care for the subject matter or if I just didn't identify or really like the main character. The author explained what had made her this way from her back stories but I just really did not ever quite get into this book. Just okay for me.
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