Laura Lippman: And When She Was Good
Award-winning mystery novelist, Laura Lippman, has delivered another winner. Deftly, Lippman lures the reader into the morally murky world of a suburban Madam known variously as Helen-Heloise-Hel. Just like any suburban Mom, Helen is out to protect and provide for her son, only here the dangers are far more deadly than over-baking cookies for the PTA meeting--Helen is possibly being stalked by a revengeful killer. The reader is ever on the side of this resourceful, ambitious woman who, having been dealt a lousy hand in the game of life, plays her cards with skill and courage: one concurs that when Helen was good, she was very, very good,but when she was bad she understandably could be horrid. And therein lies the fascination of this masterfully written mystery novel.
Rated of 5
by Darcy C. (San Diego, CA)
Got To Look Out For Yourself
This was a really good read! I was able to get wrapped up in the protagonist: Heloise. She was believable and a real fighter. This book is no "Pretty Woman" -- similar only in the fact that she's a prostitute. She realizes at a young age that she shouldn’t rely on others for help because they usually disappoint. (This part I could relate to!) Now she has a young son who she must also look after. She gets into real-life situations, where some of the people she encounters are truly awful. We have all been around people like that. I could understand her and found myself "pulling for her" to get out of some of her more precarious situations. I admired her business acumen and wonder if I could have been as ingenious as she was. She knows what people think of her and she’s got more common sense than any of the others who judge her. She’s a fighter - and even better - she has moxie! I like Heloise an awful lot and I think other readers will too. If Hollywood didn't ruin most of the good stories out there - I would love to see this turned into a movie. I will settle for this book, and hope(!) that I will get the chance to read more about Heloise and how the rest of her life turns out.
Rated of 5
by Diane D. (Cape Elizabeth, ME)
Lippman is good!
Lippman has a great way with characters. In this latest novel, she delves into the life of a suburban madam and the circumstances that led her to this life. Her characters have a richness that really make them jump off the page and come to life. And When She Was Good was a quick, satisfying read!
Rated of 5
by Karla M. (Sicklerville, NJ)
The book was really easy to read and I really enjoyed the story line. I liked how the story went between the current time and Heloise/Helen's past from chapter to chapter, it helped to explain what was going on and to develop the characters nicely. I also really enjoyed that the author didn't immediately start in with the murder mystery part of the book; most books of this genre have already started the suspenseful parts by the first or second chapter and by the end of the book you feel like the climax was over a few chapters back.
Rated of 5
by Kathleen S. (St Louis, MO)
A Different But Interesting Heroine, of Sorts
Having read Laura Lippman's works before, I was interested in seeing what form her creativity would take with her next book, since her novels are all compelling yet very different. This one was no exception. The unlikely protagonist of this work, Heloise, is a prostitute/madam in the suburbs of Baltimore. At first, the topic and "career" of this woman put me off, but as I kept reading I became aware that I was liking her more and more. She is trying to change her life and do the right thing by her employees and her son. Of course, this journey is never easy, especially when the career is such a dubious one, and she is in danger. How Heloise makes this journey and the choices she makes are the theme of this book. Lippman's prose flow to create the tone and set the pace of this novel. This work would be suitable for book clubs.
Rated of 5
by Marybeth T. (Bellingham, WA)
and when she was good
I did like this book after I finished it. During the reading of it I just wasn't sure. I really didn't care for Heloise. I felt she was flat, emotionless and she really was, but I liked her at the end. It did have a few twists that I enjoy in books. I am glad I stuck it out and finished. Laura Lippman does not disappoint!
Rated of 5
by Shelly B. (STATEN ISLAND, NY)
And When She Was Good
Overall I enjoyed the book, with some reservations. I found Heloise to be somewhat condradictory. On the one hand, she ran a very successful "business", but on the other hand she was sometimes childlike, and made very poor decisions. On some levels I found her characterization to be less than believable. Overall though, I found the story interesting. I liked the going back and forth with the timeline. I would rate this book between average and good, therefore a 3.5, I felt it was better than just average.
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