by Karen White

April 2009
ISBN: 978-0-451-22649-5
Reviewer Graphic Button New American Library
Trade Paperback

A flawed jump leaves Piper Mills dreams of equestrian Olympic glory as shattered as her body. In time, she heals, but she is still scarred emotionally, as well as physically. She lives a secluded life in the old home that belonged to her grandparents. When she was only twelve, she and her now late grandfather buried a box in the garden. After her grandmother finally succumbs to Alzheimer's, Piper starts going through the house to clear out things and discovers a room that seems to hold several items that relate to tragic secrets from her grandmother's past. Those things and the buried box in the garden start Piper on a quest to find the answers to questions about past family secrets.

This quest leads Piper to one of her grandmother's girlhood friend's, Lillian, who is better known to her family as Malily. Malily's family wants to protect her as her health has become more fragile from age and Piper's requests for information are rebuffed. Piper may have other issues, but she does not have any problem with being persistent and works her way into the family with a bit of subterfuge. She is not cast out even after her lies are revealed. Piper tries to get to the secrets of Malily's and her own grandmother's past through Malily's adult grandchildren, Tucker and Helen. Tucker and Helen have dealt with tragedies of their own. Tucker is dealing with the tragic death of his wife, which may be connected to these family secrets, while trying to raise his children. Helen was left blind by a childhood illness, but she often seems to "see" more than those with perfect sight.

Author Karen White opens The Lost Hours with absolutely exquisite descriptions and pulls you right into the Savannah setting and the heart of the story. The characters are compelling, flaws and all, thanks to Ms. White's well-honed skills. The mysteries of the past are slowly and tantalizingly revealed, so once you start this book it will be hard to put it down. The subtle mix of family dysfunction and love on many levels are simply irresistible. This novel is perfect for a book club discussion with its many thought provoking issues. Reading group questions are thoughtfully provided, along with a Q&A section with the author.

I have been a huge fan of Karen White's since her very first book. Her stories always resonate with me and touch an emotional chord. The Lost Hours is my new favorite in her growing body of work. I look forward to a new novel later this year.

Reviewed in May 2009 by Roberta.

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