Friday, March 1, 2024

One Puzzling Afternoon by Emily Critchley

A mystery she can't remember. A friend she can't forget.

I kept your secret Lucy. I've kept it for more than sixty years . . .

It is 1951, and at number six Sycamore Street fifteen-year-old Edie Green is lonely. Living alone with her eccentric mother - who conducts seances for the local Ludthorpe community - she is desperate for something to shake her from her dull, isolated life.

When the popular, pretty Lucy Theddle befriends Edie, she thinks all her troubles are over. But Lucy has a secret, one Edie is not certain she should keep . . .

Then Lucy goes missing.

2018. Edie is eighty-four and still living in Ludthorpe. When one day she glimpses Lucy Theddle, still looking the same as she did at fifteen, her family write it off as one of her many mix ups. There's a lot Edie gets confused about these days. A lot she finds difficult to remember. But what she does know is this: she must find out what happened to Lucy, all those years ago . . .

Paperback, 350 pages
Published October 3, 2023
by Sourcebooks
4.5/5 stars

This is not just a story about a missing teen. It’s the story of Edie, her confusion and cloudy brain, it's the memories of what happened to Lucy and it's a slow burn but well worth the read.

Maybe because I’ve experienced dementia in a loved one that this resonated more for me, it felt so real. Yes this was slow paced but given my connection with Edie I was totally captivated.

Weaving the past with the present, the disappearance of Lucy is slowly drawn out. The 1951 timeline was a coming of age story highlighting a friendship and family dysfunctions.

One Puzzling Afternoon was beautifully written, it showed the side of aging for both the elder and their family. It’s a story of friendship and a wonderfully debut. It’s a story that has stayed with me a month after reading. It's one I higher recommend.

This book was part of my 2024 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge which I received through my OnceUponABookClub box.

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