Book Review: The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I have been a longtime fan of Megan Miranda ever since I read All the Missing Girls.  I always pick up her books and always enjoy them.  Her last book, The Last House Guest, was not my favorite and I was really hoping The Girl from Widow Hills would re-energize my fandom.  Surprise, IT DID!  I really enjoyed the pacing, plot, and characters. 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Everyone knows the story of “the girl from Widow Hills.”

Arden Maynor was just a child when she was swept away while sleepwalking during a terrifying rainstorm and went missing for days. Strangers and friends, neighbors and rescue workers, set up search parties and held vigils, praying for her safe return. Against all odds, she was found, alive, clinging to a storm drain. The girl from Widow Hills was a living miracle. Arden’s mother wrote a book. Fame followed. Fans and fan letters, creeps, and stalkers. And every year, the anniversary. It all became too much. As soon as she was old enough, Arden changed her name and disappeared from the public eye.

Now a young woman living hundreds of miles away, Arden goes by Olivia. She’s managed to stay off the radar for the last few years. But with the twentieth anniversary of her rescue approaching, the media will inevitably renew its interest in Arden. Where is she now? Soon Olivia feels like she’s being watched and begins sleepwalking again, like she did long ago, even waking outside her home. Until late one night she jolts awake in her yard. At her feet is the corpse of a man she knows—from her previous life, as Arden Maynor.

And now, the girl from Widow Hills is about to become the center of the story, once again, in this propulsive page-turner from suspense master Megan Miranda.

Review:

The Girl from Widow Hills had my attention from the first page.  I was eager to learn about our main character’s history as Arden, as well as her current life as Olivia.  Miranda does a brilliant job of covering both time periods in a flawless way that keeps the story flowing and moving forward.  She accomplishes this by inserting old newspaper articles, press interviews, and transcripts of the 9-1-1 call between chapters. 

After almost twenty years of escaping her life as Arden Maynor, Olivia has finally found somewhere she wants to settle down.  She is comfortable with her job, her friends, and her little cottage that sits off the beaten path.  Oliva knows that with the anniversary of her rescue approaching, there will be a lot of media coverage and she is rightfully on edge.  She has started sleepwalking again, which is something that she hasn’t done in a long time.  One night she sleepwalks outside and stumbles across the body of a man in her yard.  When Olivia comes to at her neighbor’s home and the police arrive she learns the man’s identity.  She knows him from her past.  She knows that this will thrust her into the spotlight once more.  Who can she trust?  Is someone after her?  These are all thoughts that cross Olivia’s mind as she tries to figure out what this blast from her past is doing in her present. 

Initially, I wasn’t sure I liked the protagonist.  It bothered me that she was suspicious of everyone and never opened up to the friends she made in her new life.  However, as the story progresses I began to understand her paranoia, her trauma, and her reasons for keeping her past a secret.  Olivia needs to be in control of her life and finding the body of a man she knew as Arden makes that an extremely complicated task.  Even worse, she can’t remember how she got outside in the first place.  All she recalls is hearing a cell phone ringing and waking up next door with blood on her hands. 

I liked piecing together the story alongside Olivia and experiencing a wide range of emotions and suspicions.  I started off viewing Olivia’s friends as well-meaning and trying to help, but that slowly shifted, and I questioned everyone’s motives just like Olivia.  I was pretty sure I figured out where the story was going and then realized I was the same as a sleepwalking Olivia…totally oblivious!  I don’t know why I thought this book would be any different from Miranda’s others.  I never figure out the ending until Miranda wants me to.  I am thrilled to have my fandom restored and highly recommend The Girl from Widow Hills to other readers that may not have loved The Last House Guest.  It’s fast paced, page-turning, well written, and it echoes the writing we all fell in love with in All the Missing Girls.  Enjoy! 

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