Emma In the Night Book Review #WhatHappenedtoEmma

Title: Emma In the Night

Author: Wendy Walker

Genre: Suspense

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: August 8, 2017

Format: Kindle/Hardcover

Pages: 320 pages

About the Book:

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.

AmazonMy Review:

Emma in the Night is a fast-paced, suspenseful read that will leave you guessing up until the very end. It is, on its surface, a story of a story of love, betrayal, and life with a person with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

This story was a difficult read for me, because it brought back memories of lies and betrayal in my own life. One of the quotes that really hit home with me was this:

Not knowing, not seeing, being deceived – it makes you question everything you have come to trust. It makes you doubt your own judgment, and the truths you have come to believe in, which sometimes are so deeply embedded, you don’t even know they’re there, shaping your thoughts.

Possibly as a result of so much unease, I have walked around, sometimes for months, in a constant state of edginess.

People who have a scream are too sad or laugh too hard, swear too much, use drugs or never sit still. Sometimes they sing at the top of their lungs with the windows rolled down. I don’t think people are born with it. I think other people put it inside you with the things they do to you, and say to you, or the things you see them do or say to other people. And I don’t think you can get rid of it. If you don’t have a scream, you can’t understand.

For a long time I felt like:

Everyone I could ever trust, everyone you could ever trust, could betray you.

It took me a long time to realize that:

a) We all make mistakes, and not every mistake is a personal insult.

b) I can either sit on eggshells, waiting to feel betrayed again, or I can work on trusting again.

Anyway, enough about me. Whether or not you can identify with the dysfunctional family issues present in Emma In the Night, if you love suspense-filled dramatic stories, then this one is for you!

I give Emma in the Night five stars!!! A must read!!

I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of review. All my opinions are 100% my own.

About the Author:

Wendy Walker is an attorney and former investment banker. Her first thriller, All Is Not Forgotten, has become an international bestseller with movie rights sold to Reese Witherspoon and Warner Brothers. The paperback will be out on July 18, 2017. Her second thriller, Emma In The Night, will be released on August 8, 2017. Wendy lives in Connecticut where she is busy raising her three sons and writing her next novel.

On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety Book Review – Part One

Title: On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety

Author: Andrea Petersen

Genre: Psychology

Publisher: Random House

Release Date: May 16, 2017

Format: Kindle/Hardcover

Pages: 320 pages

About the Book:

A racing heart. Difficulty breathing. Overwhelming dread. Andrea Petersen was first diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at the age of twenty, but she later realized that she had been experiencing panic attacks since childhood. With time her symptoms multiplied. She agonized over every odd physical sensation. She developed fears of driving on highways, going to movie theaters, even licking envelopes. Although having a name for her condition was an enormous relief, it was only the beginning of a journey to understand and master it—one that took her from psychiatrists’ offices to yoga retreats to the Appalachian Trail.

Woven into Petersen’s personal story is a fascinating look at the biology of anxiety and the groundbreaking research that might point the way to new treatments. She compares psychoactive drugs to non-drug treatments, including biofeedback and exposure therapy. And she explores the role that genetics and the environment play in mental illness, visiting top neuroscientists and tracing her family history—from her grandmother, who, plagued by paranoia, once tried to burn down her own house, to her young daughter, in whom Petersen sees shades of herself.

Brave and empowering, this is essential reading for anyone who knows what it means to live on edge.

AmazonMy Review:

What I appreciated most about On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety was Andrea Petersen’s personal story about her own anxiety. Although we had vastly different upbringings, and even different experiences with anxiety, I couldn’t help but feel a kinship with the author. After all, my own journey through anxiety is a big part of this blog (see Comfortable in My Own Skin).

My first impression as I was reading through the various causes of adult anxiety, was that poor Bud was doomed from a very young age.  As the author says, “Anxiety disorders almost certainly have multiple causes – from genetics to childhood trauma to how your parents interact with you. And for any given person, the mix of these factors will be as singular as a fingerprint.” However, some major factors popped up which specifically fit our youngest child.

First, there is evidence that what happens to the mother can alter the development of the fetus. According to Petersen, “This means that children of anxious moms don’t just have a genetic predisposition to anxiety; anxiety may actually be transmitted in utero.”

In addition, a study surveying nearly 700 high school students “found that a serious illness or infection during the first year of life strongly predicted anxiety disorders by the teenage years.” Bud had chicken pox at 2 months and pneumonia at six months old.

The research is inconclusive on whether or not parenting can actually cause anxiety. However, it does seem that for a child who is predisposed to anxiety, an anxious, hovering parent certainly doesn’t help. I’m sorry to say that I was that parent, in many ways. Bud remembers me telling him that he couldn’t be out of my sight when he was playing outside because someone could “snatch him off the street.” I suppose there is a fine line between teaching your child safety and leaving them permanently scarred.

There were so many insights in this book that I have decided to break my review into three parts. Look for part two next week.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of review. All opinions are 100% my own.