This past weekend I was hunkered down on the top bleacher of an all day volleyball tournament for Middle Sister. Usually I sit with the other parents, but I had brought along a few books to read, and once I started Her by Harriet Lane, I didn't need anyone else around. I was totally entertained.
Emma and Nina take turns narrating this story. Emma's life centers around her chidren, both still toddlers, which at times seems overwhelming.
Nina has one daughter, Sophie, from her first marriage, and presents herself as fashionable, a bit above Emma's social class.
And yet, Nina continues to watch Emma from afar, insinuating herself into Emma's life.
Her intentions appear good on the surface, but there is more to Nina than what we initially see. It is obvious that Nina knows Emma from years ago, but while Nina recognizes Emma, Emma has no idea at all that she has once met Nina.
One of my friends suggested that Emma is perhaps a bit self-absorbed, which I at first attributed to her status as a young mother, but after a few days of thinking about these characters, feel that Emma's self absorption has always been a part of her character.
It seems that Nina is always there to help out - when Emma loses her wallet, she finds it and returns it. She stands in for her daughter and babysits for Emma's children so Emma and her husband can have a night out together.
And yet, there is always something a bit sinister and devious that lies just underneath everything Nina does.
I had been warned prior to reading Her that the last three pages were infuriating. However, I didn't find them that way at all. I was wishing for more resolution than what is given, yet there is a certain skill to creating a novel that ends with such a question mark that readers are eager to discuss what each of them envisions the ending to be.
And, as I thought a bit about this novel, I couldn't find any ending more appropriate than the one Lane chose to write.
This is a good book club selection and will provide plenty of talking points to start a discussion.
Read Alikes: Until You're Mine by Samantha Hayes