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Perennial New York Times and nationally bestselling author and acclaimed multiple–prize winner Laura Lippman delivers a brilliant novel about a woman with a secret life who is forced to make desperate choices to save her son and herself.

When Hector Lewis told his daughter that she had a nothing face, it was just another bit of tossed-off cruelty from a man who specialized in harsh words and harsher deeds. But twenty years later, Heloise considers it a blessing to be a person who knows how to avoid attention. In the comfortable suburb where she lives, she's just a mom, the youngish widow with a forgettable job who somehow never misses a soccer game or a school play. In the state capitol, she's the redheaded lobbyist with a good cause and a mediocre track record.

But in discreet hotel rooms throughout the area, she's the woman of your dreams—if you can afford her hourly fee.

For more than a decade, Heloise has believed she is safe. She has created a rigidly compartmentalized life, maintaining no real friendships, trusting few confidantes. Only now her secret life, a life she was forced to build after the legitimate world turned its back on her, is under siege. Her once oblivious accountant is asking loaded questions. Her longtime protector is hinting at new, mysterious dangers. Her employees can't be trusted. One county over, another so-called suburban madam has been found dead in her car, a suicide. Or is it?

Nothing is as it seems as Heloise faces a midlife crisis with much higher stakes than most will ever know.

And then she learns that her son's father might be released from prison, which is problematic because he doesn't know he has a son. The killer and former pimp also doesn't realize that he's serving a life sentence because Heloise betrayed him. But he's clearly beginning to suspect that Heloise has been holding something back all these years.

With no formal education, no real family, and no friends, Heloise has to remake her life—again. Disappearing will be the easy part. She's done it before and she can do it again. A new name and a new place aren't hard to come by if you know the right people. The trick will be living long enough to start a new life.

Topics: Suburbia, Prostitution, Single Mothers, Female Protagonist, Survival, Suspenseful, and Secret Life

Published: HarperCollins on Aug 14, 2012
ISBN: 9780062201614
List price: $4.99
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She pours another glass of wine, finishing a bottle for the first time in years, yet feeling as if she’s not drinking alone, far from it. She’s one of a dozen, a hundred, a thousand, a million women, holding a glass and staring into space, asking herself the musical questions she used to hear on soupy, soapy WFEN radio: What’s it all about? Is that all there is? What are you doing with the rest of your life? - from And When She Was Good, page 125 -Heloise is living in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland with her eleven year old son, looking like most of the other women who drive their kids to school, drink coffee at the local cafe, and shop for the latest fashion trends. But, Heloise is hiding a secret. Her son’s father, Val, has not died the tragic death which Heloise has told her neighbors about…instead he sits in prison for murder because of Heloise’s cooperation with police. Val not only does not know the part Heloise has played in his conviction, but he also has no idea he has a son – a secret Heloise is committed to keeping. And Heloise is not supporting her lifestyle from some insurance payout, instead she runs a high end prostitution business where the customers are some of the most powerful men in politics and one misstep could upend her carefully constructed life.Heloise has learned to lie and hide, to compartmentalize her life so that she can give her son everything she never had…and it all seems to be working out until Heloise discovers that Val’s life imprisonment might be overturned, and a certain suburban Madam from the next town over is arrested and then found dead in her garage. Are the two incidents connected? And if so, what does that mean for Heloise?Laura Lippman will not disappoint her fans with this newest novel about the dark, despairing world of prostitution and the incomparable love of a mother for her son. Heloise is a surprisingly compassionate protagonist, a woman who survives the abusive hand of her stepfather only to find herself caught up in a life of meaningless sex for money. She is willing to do what it takes to survive, and is determined to make a life for her child even if it means risking everything. Heloise has learned to flatten her affect, disengage from others, be the keeper of her own life…and yet, she has dreams and desires that require her to trust. This dichotomy is what provides the tension in the novel.Lippman’s exploration of a woman’s value in society, which is often measured in her ability to balance the demands of marriage, motherhood and profession, elevates the book beyond a simple psychological thriller. Heloise represents many women – those who have suffered and survived domestic violence, those who have sacrificed for their children, those who have struggled to find their professional path, those who have fought for something better and have fallen and gotten back up again. Lippman’s talent as an author shines in this aspect of the novel – illuminating the challenges of women in a society which often demeans them.No one values her. That was a painful lesson to learn at her father’s knee – at the end of her father’s arm, at the flat of his palm – but once she absorbed it, she flourished. It doesn’t matter what others think she is worth. She sets the price. – from And When She Was Good, page 81 -I have loved previous novels by Lippman, but I think And When She Was Good is her best effort to date. Complex characters, themes relevant to today’s women, and a plot that is keenly observed and brilliantly executed. I read this novel in record time, not wanting to set it down for too long before picking it back up.Readers who love literary thrillers and want deeply developed characters along with a fast-paced plot, will not want to miss this one.Highly Recommended.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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She pours another glass of wine, finishing a bottle for the first time in years, yet feeling as if she’s not drinking alone, far from it. She’s one of a dozen, a hundred, a thousand, a million women, holding a glass and staring into space, asking herself the musical questions she used to hear on soupy, soapy WFEN radio: What’s it all about? Is that all there is? What are you doing with the rest of your life? - from And When She Was Good, page 125 -Heloise is living in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland with her eleven year old son, looking like most of the other women who drive their kids to school, drink coffee at the local cafe, and shop for the latest fashion trends. But, Heloise is hiding a secret. Her son’s father, Val, has not died the tragic death which Heloise has told her neighbors about…instead he sits in prison for murder because of Heloise’s cooperation with police. Val not only does not know the part Heloise has played in his conviction, but he also has no idea he has a son – a secret Heloise is committed to keeping. And Heloise is not supporting her lifestyle from some insurance payout, instead she runs a high end prostitution business where the customers are some of the most powerful men in politics and one misstep could upend her carefully constructed life.Heloise has learned to lie and hide, to compartmentalize her life so that she can give her son everything she never had…and it all seems to be working out until Heloise discovers that Val’s life imprisonment might be overturned, and a certain suburban Madam from the next town over is arrested and then found dead in her garage. Are the two incidents connected? And if so, what does that mean for Heloise?Laura Lippman will not disappoint her fans with this newest novel about the dark, despairing world of prostitution and the incomparable love of a mother for her son. Heloise is a surprisingly compassionate protagonist, a woman who survives the abusive hand of her stepfather only to find herself caught up in a life of meaningless sex for money. She is willing to do what it takes to survive, and is determined to make a life for her child even if it means risking everything. Heloise has learned to flatten her affect, disengage from others, be the keeper of her own life…and yet, she has dreams and desires that require her to trust. This dichotomy is what provides the tension in the novel.Lippman’s exploration of a woman’s value in society, which is often measured in her ability to balance the demands of marriage, motherhood and profession, elevates the book beyond a simple psychological thriller. Heloise represents many women – those who have suffered and survived domestic violence, those who have sacrificed for their children, those who have struggled to find their professional path, those who have fought for something better and have fallen and gotten back up again. Lippman’s talent as an author shines in this aspect of the novel – illuminating the challenges of women in a society which often demeans them.No one values her. That was a painful lesson to learn at her father’s knee – at the end of her father’s arm, at the flat of his palm – but once she absorbed it, she flourished. It doesn’t matter what others think she is worth. She sets the price. – from And When She Was Good, page 81 -I have loved previous novels by Lippman, but I think And When She Was Good is her best effort to date. Complex characters, themes relevant to today’s women, and a plot that is keenly observed and brilliantly executed. I read this novel in record time, not wanting to set it down for too long before picking it back up.Readers who love literary thrillers and want deeply developed characters along with a fast-paced plot, will not want to miss this one.Highly Recommended.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Heloise, born Helen, is a single mother and a business woman. Formerly a prostitute she now owns her own "consulting" business that caters to high profile men such as lawyers and polititians from Baltimore, Washington DC and Annapolis. She has tried to keep this part of her life secret as she lives in suburbia and is the typical mother. She pretty much keeps to herself and lives her life solely for her son. The death of a woman who was a madame with her own business is found dead, a suspected suicide, changes her life in a dangerous way. She not only has to deal with an ex employee who threatens to sue her because she claims she contracted HIV while in Heloise's employ, Heloise has a friend and protector in the police department who would warn her of any attempts to investigate her and her business, has decided to retire. The man who was her "pimp" is in prison for murder and Heloise comes to realize that this man can and will do whatever it takes to protect his interests. In describing what kind of woman Heloise is, the author tells a backstory of her life growing up in a dysfunctional family and her relationship with the man who is the father of her child.Ms.Lippman has the unique talent in setting up the story for the reader along with any backstory needed and then gives an ending that is totally unexpected. The latest psychological thriller from a gifted storyteller. A novel not to be missed. I highly recommend it and give it 5 stars.
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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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