I never want to experience what this mom and dad experience in Finding Emma. Megan, the mom, loses track of her three-year-old for less than a minute one summer afternoon, but it’s enough to change her life, and the lives of everyone around her, forever.
The characters are drawn with eerie realism in this family drama. Megan descends the slippery twin slopes of depression and obsession. I found her totally believable, and as the double bind she finds herself in gets worse and worse, I feel her pain. It’s a mother’s worst nightmare to lose her child, probably even worse than having a child die.
Megan’s husband Peter is equally interesting. As the cracks widen in their marriage and the dynamic goes toxic for both, the story managed to surprise me over and over. Every time I thought I knew what had to happen next, I turned out wrong.
What really makes this book come alive is the dialogue. Megan and Peter have two older girls, and their voices come through with haunting realism. I found myself thinking the author must herself be a mother to have sketched these girls so perfectly. I was right.
I don’t often read family thrillers like Finding Emma, but this book was full of unexpected rewards and surprising beauty. I’d recommend it highly.