The Longing of Wayward Girls by Karen Brown

16130435I received an advanced copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Longing of Wayward Girls is the first book I’ve read by Karen Brown, and I admit that this was also the first time I’ve heard about this author.  I’ve requested this book for review from Netgalley for two reasons:  Firstly, I loved the description of the book and secondly, the cover – it is beautiful. The story plays off in two time periods, in the 1970’s (1974/9) and 2003.

A girl called Laura disappeared in the woods 5 years ago, and is still missing. Sadie remembers all about it, because for some people Sadie reminds them of Laura. It is summer in New England and Sadie and her best friend Betty are looking forward to the summer holidays.  Sadie’s mom wants them to play with a neighbourhood girl called Francie. They don’t particularly like her and play a “harmless” prank on her:  They tell her about a imaginary boy who Francie starts writing letters to and develops a connection with this “boy”,  not knowing that Sadie and Betty are the ones who are writing letters to her, and receiving hers in return.  Soon, Francie disappears and Sadie and Betty, although they blame themselves, decides to keep quiet about what they know about her disappearance.

Twenty years later, Sadie is married with two children, when a boy from her neighborhood decides to return to town, the boy who was blamed for Francie’s disappearance. Sadie falls in love with him, and finds herself having an affair with this man and wanting to leave her husband for him.  What will she choose?

The story sounds exactly what I wanted to read at the time I started the book: two missing girls disappear in the woods, a young girl blaming herself for one of the disappearances, mystery, and suspense…  The book starts off nicely, the tale is haunting until I reached the middle of the book, where I became less interested in the story.   I find Sadie and Betty really irresponsible for arranging to meet Betty at midnight, knowing that a young girl went missing in the woods before – such a reminder of how unintentionally cruel kids can be

The story has a few interesting elements:  Sadie’s affair with a man who had an affair with her mother (of which she finds out later in the book) and wanting to leave her family for him.  His sister’s unnatural obsession with her brother, I think that she was in love with her own brother, which made me feel a little uncomfortable reading about that.  In the end they find Francie’s remains and Sadie in return finds out what happened to Francie, and she still chooses to keep quiet. However, that is what I think she did, because that’s where the book ends, more or less.  It somehow reminds me a bit of In the Woods.  The book, although  an interesting story, didn’t keep me in suspense as I’ve hoped it would do. I think the reason for that is that the emphasis was too much on Sadie and her infidelity and Sadie’s regret of what she (and Betty) has done to Francie, while my expectation was more of a mystery/suspense tale…

I think this book is an easy read, a perfect beach read with a  little bit of mystery, but there isn’t any suspense.  Have you read the book? If so, what did you think of it?

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  • It sounds like an interesting story, altough not necessarily the kind I like to read. I would have expected the focus to be on the disappearing of the young girl, not on the other things. It is one I will keep in mind, but I will not be running to the bookstores for this one, I think!

    Kind regards,

    • There are a lot of emphasis on her, but not that much, it’s as if the stories was more about Sadie and how her actions lead to a girl disappearing. I think grab this one, if you looking for an easy read with not too much suspense… there is a touch of mystery in it.

  • Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader

    I read, and liked, this one as well. 🙂 Lovely review!

    • Thanks Jen! Did you post a review? I did like this one, but I expected too much because of the description. Nonetheless, it’s a nice story.

  • Ah I am glad I did not request it. I was wondering because it does look very interesting but with the way to huge pile I have already I guess it is better I did not. Great review!

    • I’ve seen reviews of people that really liked it! I guess I wasn’t in the right frame of mind…

  • I think the cover matches with what I thought the book would be like. And that is, fine but not special. I have enough books like that still waiting to be read… But it does sound interesting enough to try if I had nothing else with me to read.

    • It is a lovely story. I just thought there would be a little bit more suspense, but that doesn’t make it bad.

      I guess we all have that problem, too many books 🙂 Enjoy your reading!

  • Ashlee Stalling

    I love coming here, you cover some great books. I am really into thriller type fiction reads lately so that is what I was looking for. You have some good ideas, i will add that I just read White Thaw: The Helheim Conspiracy by Paul Mark Tag and it was brilliant. I have a soft spot for conspiracies so this one fit the bill. His info is at, totally worth a look if anyone is in need of a great thriller read!

    • I do read thrillers too, I sure will check out this book you mentioned on Goodreads!

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • Great review, though I’m wondering what my reaction would be, since I didn’t love the suspense elements in In The Woods very much…I felt extremely let down by that one! This one is on my review list though, so I will be sure to share what I think when I get to it.

    • In the Woods was a nice story, but I felt let down by the ending of the story. This one doesn’t have a lot of suspense, it’s just a mystery tale and it’s a lovely read. You might just like this one. I’ll look out for your review.

  • I have this book in my review pile. Too bad it was lacking in suspense, but I am intrigued by the mystery, plus I love the dual time periods too.

    • Hi Diana, I hope that you will enjoy it once you read it. I like dual time periods too, I’ve read quite a few books in the last few months that is dual time stories

  • I haven’t read the book but it sure sounds good!

    • It was a lovely, easy read. It sure is good.

  • Isi

    What a shame you didn’t like it that much because you were right, the synopsis makes you want to read it and promises a lot of suspense.
    Anyway, I don’t discard the book, just in case.

    • It wasn’t a bad story, I was just excepting suspense 🙂
      Do you also have this book Isi?

      • Isi

        No, I haven’t requested it (I try not to visit Netgalley very often because I have The life list since several weeks ago and I still haven’t started it!)

        • I’m also on a Netgalley ban. I have so many books that I’ve purchased (on Kindle and physical books) and I don’t get to read them. So now I’m working through my netgalley list of books and thereafter I will work through my own books 🙂

          • Isi

            We should organize a challenge about reading Netgalley books before requesting more 😉 The life list is the first book I have requested, and I did it because Ciska told us, and then, only then, I realized I had hundreds of books to read before this one. What a mess! Hope to read it this summer.

          • Goodluck! 🙂

  • Great blog!
    I’m wondering: Do book lovers necessarily need to be book collectors?
    I tried to get rid of my books and failed miserably
    What do you think?

    Love from Germany,

    • Hi Bambi. Thanks for the link – you have some lovely books in your collection. I think that most book lovers are book collectors, only difference is some of us read (or try to) the books we purchase. There are some people who just collect books for the beauty of it. Do you like to read?

      To be honest, I won’t get rid of my books. I keep them all and unless I really HAVE to, I’d be most sad to sell them 🙂

  • Great review! Always nice to have some beach read recommendations. Now if I could just find my way to the beach.

    • And this is a lovely one, albeit without the suspense I was hoping for. I found it to be such a nice read. Off you go to the beach… Too bad it’s winter here I would’ve loved to be at the beach right now!

  • Does sound like a premise I would really enjoy; sorry to hear it was a disappointment.

    • Hi Lisa, maybe you will enjoy it yes. It wasn’t a disappointment, it just didn’t live up to my expectation – which I based on the blurb. It was still a nice book though. Thanks for stopping by!

  • It does sound like a very interesting book, I’m not sure how much I’d enjoy it though, I’m not the biggest fan of books that are supposed to be full of Which it sounds like this one isn’t really, so I don’t know. Great review, you’ve definitely given me something to think on.

    • Thanks Jenn! Which type of books do you enjoy? I would have liked more suspense in this one, but it wasn’t bad.

      • I tend to give all types of books a try, but suspense and thrillers seem to normally not do it for me, if you know what I mean.

        • I prefer literary fiction and historical fiction. I do read thrillers, but very rarely.

  • readerswonderland

    I bought this awhile ago and forget about it! I’m glad to hear it is an interesting story, although the content would be a little off-putting. I do love historical fiction, though. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    • I hope you get to read it, and that you will enjoy it. I’m glad to learn that you love historical fiction too! This one is not historical fiction though…

  • I’m glad you enjoyed it! I think Jamie @ Book Magnet liked it a lot, too, but maybe it was someone else I’m thinking of. . .

  • I wanted to read this book a while ago as I think it has an interesting storyline and maybe I should. You just made me wonder, did Betty and Sadie killed Francie, or did they see someone doing something to her but chose not to help out of fear or did something tragic happened to Francie when the 3 of them were “playing” together… Well I guess I have to read and see lol!

    • I guess so too! 🙂 Happy reading, my friend!