Tuesday, February 14, 2023

What Happens Next by Christina Suzann Nelson

Popular podcaster and ex-reporter Faith Byrne has made a name for herself telling stories of greatness after tragedy--but her real life does not mirror the stories she tells. While her daughters spend the summer in Hawaii with her ex-husband and his new wife, she must manage life on her own. But all that changes when she's asked to spotlight her childhood best friend's missing person case on her podcast.

Dora Crane has never accepted that her younger daughter could be dead, keeping her home looking the same as when her daughter disappeared. But when her husband leaves her, and her older daughter intervenes, she agrees to counseling and to pack up her missing daughter's belongings under one condition: Faith Byrne comes to Deep Valley and sheds light on the cold case.

As the investigation moves forward, the two women uncover desperate secrets, and Faith and Dora must face the long-hidden truth before they can begin to move forward.

Award-winning author Christina Suzann Nelson masterfully leads readers on a journey of discovery, healing, and friendship in this suspenseful and poignant tale.

Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 17, 2023
by Bethany House
4.5/5 stars

This is my first time reading Christina Suzann Nelson, and to follow a bookish cliché this will not be my last.

What Happens Next is more than just a story about missing 10 year old Heather Crane.  It was so sudden 38 years ago when it happened and with very little clues to her disappearance it remains an unsolved mystery. But what follows is a story of grief, determination, and ultimately healing. It is a mother’s worst nightmare. For Dora Crane she has never been able to accept the worst outcome could have happened to her precious daughter. It has wrecked her life, becoming an obsession, not just reeking havoc on her own life but ultimately her relationship with her husband and older daughter.

Faith Byrne was Heather's best friend that last summer.  Going through her own struggles which include being recently separated. Her two daughters are spending the summer with their father in Hawaii so she moves back to her grandmother’s home, which is just down the road from where Heather lived. 

I really enjoyed this book. The author wrote the story back-and-forth through time with different points of view, one of them being Heather herself. There were twists and turns that I didn’t anticipate as the mystery slowly unwound. 

Like I said, What Happens Next is a story of grief, determination and healing, but it is also the story of friendship, family and mystery. There were many pieces to this puzzle and all fit nicely together at the end.

My thanks to Graf- Martin Communications for a print copy in exchange for a honest review.

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