What's Become of Her by Deb Caletti
Sharp, gorgeous writing coupled with an ominous atmosphere and brilliant plot, What’s Become of Her by Deb Caletti is a suspenseful and superbly crafted tale of love and deception. The story follows the recently divorced Isabelle Austen as she returns home to Parrish Island to take over her deceased mother’s tourism business. Within the first sentences, the reader learns that the island is inhabited by hundreds of crows who fly back and forth every morning and every night. I am already thinking, “quoth the raven, nevermore” and wondering what the birds are foreshadowing. It’s as if Caletti is in my head because the next sentence reads “If they are harbingers of danger, then there is a lot of danger coming. If they are portents of retribution, the guilty better watch out.” And I’m hooked.
Isabelle is struggling with a devastating divorce and the recent death of her mother. She is vulnerable, emotional and has returned to her island home to heal and start over. The crows fly over as a sea plane docks, and out steps Henry North, a gorgeous professor who we discover is an expert on Poe and seems perfect in every way. Perhaps too perfect. Isabelle and Henry soon find themselves in an intense, passionate relationship and Isabelle falls madly in love. Henry doesn’t judge her, he understands her. He is broken just like she is and Isabelle loves him all the more for it. She wanders the island in a state of bliss, but her happiness is short lived. Henry is hiding secrets – the “accidental death” of his first wife and the unexplained disappearance of his second wife. While she is trying to make sense of this unexpected news, Isabelle begins to receive mysterious packages from a stranger on the other side of the world. Someone is clearly stalking Henry and trying to warn Isabelle. But who are they and what do they know? Isabelle struggles to put the pieces of the puzzle together, caught up between her passion for the man she loves and the paranoia that is starting to overtake her.
She makes bad choice after bad choice, and I found myself talking to the book and urging her to get the hell out. But Isabelle is blinded by love and damaged from her own insecurities. She tells herself that if she just works just a little bit harder then everything will be ok. I found myself racing through the pages to find out what was going to happen and the twist at the end of the book took me by surprise. I love when that happens!! If you like suspenseful, atmospheric novels with a heavy Poe influence, then this book is a must read for you. I read it in one sitting and I give it 5 stars. Many thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.