Friday, December 5, 2014

Her by Harriet Lane

I received this NetGalley through Shelf Awareness. Sign up for their "pro" newsletter to find opportunities for Advanced Reading Copies of books.

Her was originally published earlier this year. This new edition from Little, Brown and Company is set for release on January 6.

Knowing very little about this book in advance of reading it, I was sucked in as soon as I began. The novel is told from two different perspectives -- those of Nina and Emma. They are two very different women whose lives become intertwined through the design of Nina. There are hints of a shared past between the women, but the details are not revealed until the final chapters.

Nina is a painter, a mother to a teenager, and a wife. The reader is introduced to her parents and given some details of their personalities and history. Emma is a mother of two young children, a wife, and a former television professional.

Through most of the novel, the reader is given the idea of Emma committing some great wrong against Nina sometime in the past, which becomes even more mysterious when Emma obviously has no memory of Nina. Nina sees and recognizes Emma and designs to involve herself in Emma's life. On the surface, she seems like a kind and compassionate friend to Emma. But the reader is apprised to her subterfuge and her methodical breaking down of Emma.

Eventually, the reader is shown Nina's motivations, which just serve to make her actions even more abhorrent.

I felt that Lane's characterization of Emma is spot-on for a frazzled mother of young children. I also felt that, though the story seems slow at times, it was done purposefully to show how methodical Nina is in her efforts to destroy Emma.

Would I recommend it? Maybe. I did not particularly like the book, perhaps because I read it through my own "frazzled mother of young children" glasses, which may have colored my opinion. It is a well-written, intriguing story, and I found the characters well constructed. But the story is disconcerting and downright creepy in parts.
“I found the final plot twist unsatisfying, as plot twists often are: nothing like life, which - it seems to me - turns less on shocks or theatrics than on the small quiet moments, misunderstandings, or disappointments, the things that it's easy to overlook.” Her

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