I received this book for free from the TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica
Published by Park Row on September 4, 2018
Genres: Adult, Cancer, Contemporary, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Mystery, Psychological Suspense
Source: TLC Book Tours
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A woman is forced to question her own identity in this riveting and emotionally charged thriller by the blockbuster bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica
Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she’s ever known.
Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined.
Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie’s secret past. Has Jessie’s whole life been a lie or have her delusions gotten the best of her?
“Kubica brilliantly unravels the lives of two women in this tense and haunting tale of identity and deceit. WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT will keep you questioning everything-and everyone-until the riveting conclusion. A twisty, captivating, edge-of-your-seat read.” –Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author of ALL THE MISSING GIRLS
Thrillers and suspense are my favorite, and psychological suspense hold a special place in my heart. When the Lights Go Out is haunting, tense at times, beautiful, and heartbreaking throughout, and it certainly held my attention throughout the entire book. Told from two points of view in different times: twenty-ish year-old Jesse in present day, who has just lost her mother Eden to a long battle with cancer, and Eden twenty years earlier starting in 1996 and hopping around to present day.
Jesse struggles with who she is beside her mother’s daughter, especially since it’s always just been the two of them. She was always curious about who her father was, but Eden wouldn’t tell her anything about him. When Jesse applies to attend college, her social security number comes up fraudulent and belonging to a three-year-old girl who died twenty years ago in another state. While Jesse deals with insomnia after she slept through her mother’s last moments, her sleepless nights turn her waking moments into twisted nightmares as hallucinations start to creep in and take over, leaving her questioning her sanity as she searches for her origins, not wanting to believe that her mother could have kidnapped her as a child.
Eden is a happy newlywed dealing with infertility and a supportive husband that doesn’t want her to work outside of the home. As her world starts to close in as they try one fertility treatment after another with nothing resulting in a healthy baby, Eden’s marriage and life starts to crumble. Her husband Aaron leaves her when Eden becomes obsessed with having a baby, and even when they can’t afford the treatments any more, she still won’t give up. Her behavior becomes more erratic and unpredictable and desperate, and she just knows that she was meant to be a mother. And we know that she was somehow–to Jesse. My only problems with Eden’s points of view is that they felt very old fashioned–in both tone and language. I had to double check the date at the top of the chapter several times to see that they occurred in the 1990s and not in the 1950s. They just seemed very old timey to me.
Ultimately, how did Jesse come to be with Eden? You’ll have to read When the Lights Go Out to find out. Just a caution about the ending, which has caused a little bit of controversy from what I’m reading. I was okay with the twist ending, but I can see how people are divided about how things turned out.
I give When the Lights Go Out a 4.5 out of 5. The pacing was perfect throughout, with just enough being revealed in Eden’s points of view to keep the suspense building until the end. Jesse’s plight was equally tense as her health–both physical and mental–spiral out of control the longer she doesn’t sleep. I highly enjoyed the setting for Jesse in and around Chicago, as I always love reading about places that I know and love with fictional characters milling about. The picturesque lakeside cottage that Eden and Aaron owned, along with the quaint town they settled near added to the innocent atmosphere of the beginnings of their marriage. Mary Kubica’s writing was smooth, held my interest throughout, and was descriptive enough to guide my imagination.
Find WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT
About Mary Kubica
Mary Kubica is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of THE GOOD GIRL and PRETTY BABY. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children and enjoys photography, gardening and caring for the animals at a local shelter.
Connect with Mary Kubica
Mary Kubica’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT:
Monday, August 20th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Tuesday, August 21st: Books and Cats and Coffee
Wednesday, August 22nd: Mystery Suspense Reviews
Thursday, August 23rd: Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Friday, August 24th: A Bookworm’s World
Monday, August 27th: Novel Gossip
Tuesday, August 28th: Books & Spoons
Wednesday, August 29th: Read Love Blog
Friday, August 31st: From the TBR Pile
Monday, September 3rd: @brookesbooksandbrews
Tuesday, September 4th: @chapter_break
Tuesday, September 4th: @girlandherbooks
Wednesday, September 5th: @kate.olson.reads
Thursday, September 6th: @jennblogsbooks
Friday, September 7th: @bookishconnoisseur
Saturday, September 8th: @pnwbookworm
Sunday, September 8th: @girlsinbooks
Tuesday, September 4th: Literary Quicksand
Wednesday, September 5th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Thursday, September 6th: Books & Bindings
Thursday, September 6th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Friday, September 7th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, September 10th: The Book Diva’s Reads
Tuesday, September 11th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Thursday, September 13th: Thoughts from a Highly Caffeinated Mind
Friday, September 14th: Becky on Books
Friday, September 14th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, September 17th: Moonlight Rendezvous
Monday, September 17th: Staircase Wit
Tuesday, September 18th: @booknerdnative
Wednesday, September 19th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Thursday, September 20th: Mystery Suspense Reviews
Friday, September 21st: Girl Who Reads
Tuesday, September 25th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, September 25th: Why Girls are Weird
Wednesday, September 26th: @hollyslittlebookreviews
Thursday, September 27th: Mama Reads Blog
Thursday, September 27th: Jathan & Heather
Friday, September 28th: Kritter’s Ramblings