“The Sea of Lost Girls” by Carol Goodman – Book Review

“People are mysteries, sometimes the people we thought we were closest to are the biggest mysteries of all.”

When teenage Lila Zeller is found dead at the bottom of a seaside cliff, Tess’s life is thrown into turmoil.  Lila was Tess’s son Rudy’s girlfriend AND she was tutored by her husband, Harmon. Tess herself doesn’t know for sure if either her son or her husband could have committed this crime, but she wants to protect them both. Not easy for her because she was very fond of Lila herself…

The policeman who is investigating Lila’s death went to school with Tess many years ago. The school where Tess and her husband teach is an elite boarding school on the scenic Maine coast. Haywood has a long and dark history of girls going missing and never heard from again…

Rudy has just about always a troubled boy. He doesn’t like to be touched, can lash out violently, was the victim of bullying, and suffers from precarious moods.

Tess’s relationship with her son Rudy is a volatile one. Tess is hiding a tragic secret from her son and all who know her. A secret which could destroy everything they have.

This is not my first Carol Goodman novel, but it is by far my favourite. I’m not sure if it’s because of the compelling plot or the atmospheric setting, but this book worked for me on just about every level.

The coastal Maine setting was very vivid, probably because the Maine scenery is very similar to that of where I live in Nova Scotia. I’ve visited Maine many times and love the coast. The fictional boarding school of Haywood was also very easy for me to picture in my mind.

Tess, her family, friends, and acquaintances were all portrayed realistically.

A novel of family secrets, crimes against women, guilt, courage, hidden truths, and the lengths parents sometimes go to protect their offspring. A book which shows how we sometimes create our own stories by choosing to remember events a certain way.

This novel will be enjoyed by readers who enjoy crime fiction with tight plots, vivid settings and sympathetic characters. Highly recommended!

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from William Morrow Paperbacks/HarperCollins via Edelweiss.

ISBN: 9780062852021               320 pages


Carol Goodman is the critically acclaimed author of fourteen novels, including The Lake of Dead Languages and The Seduction of Water, which won the 2003 Hammett Prize. Her books have been translated into sixteen languages. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her family, and teaches writing and literature at the New School and SUNY New Paltz.

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About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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7 Responses to “The Sea of Lost Girls” by Carol Goodman – Book Review

  1. carhicks says:

    I have never read a book by Carol Goodman, in fact, I have not heard of her before. I will have to check out this book and see if this is an author I want to add to my list. Wonderful review Lynne.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carol says:

    Sounds good Lynne!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the review. I’ve really enjoyed several of her past books, especially Lake of Dead Languages.

    Liked by 1 person

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