I listened to the unabridged audio version of Half Past by Victoria Helen Stone and narrated by Emily Sutton-Smith over the course of two days! I really enjoyed this contemporary fiction novel immensely as it contained many elements that sucked me into the novel from start to finish. If you like books filled with dark family secrets, self discovery, and mystery, then this may be the novel for you!
Half Past is the first novel written by Victoria Helen Stone that I've ever read. Victoria Helen Stone's storytelling is good, her characters are well developed, and I enjoyed the overall pace of Half Past.
The main character, Hannah Smith, is a 45 years old woman going through a mid-life crisis. Hannah is dealing with a difficult divorce and has been laid off from a great paying job in Chicago when she moves back home to Iowa to help take care of her elderly mother with dementia.
Hannah has always felt like the odd person out in her family and when Hannah's mom tells her “You’re not my daughter,” Hannah begins to wonder if this is the ramblings of a woman with dementia or if there is some merit to her mother's words.
Long story, Hannah discovers that the woman she has always thought was her biological mother is not really her biological mother after all and she learns this bit of information early on in the novel. This news sends Hannah on an odyssey of self discovery trying to uncover the truth of her family's past despite the fact that her two older sisters are not on board with Hannah's need to know more about her family's secretive past. This journey takes Hannah from her small town home in Iowa to Big Sur, California in search of much needed answers. And answers, Hannah, does receive! Hannah discovers more than she bargains for by the end of the novel.
All in all, I really enjoyed Half Past by Victoria Helen Stone. There were a few little things that didn't make this novel the perfect read that I won't go into, but for the most part I truly enjoyed reading Half Past.
As a side note, I've been to Big Sur, California and find it beautiful. I've also visited Chicago before on vacation twice. And I've lived in a small college town in Iowa. So reading this novel was fun as it touches on geographical areas I'd want to read about. Plus, the main character is close to my own age and the thought of having to one day deal with aging parent(s) in failing health may be something I have to one day deal with in the future. Although, I can't imagine having to deal with discovering and then uncovering some deep dark family secret on top of that! Wouldn't that be the pits!?
Listening time for Half Past by Victoria Helen Stone is 7 hours, 28 minutes. Emily Sutton-Smith is a good narrator for this novel.
The following is a plot summary for Half Past by Victoria Helen Stone from Amazon:
At forty-five, Hannah Smith is at a crossroads. That’s her spin on it. The reality is she’s divorced, jobless, and moving back to her family home in Iowa to keep an eye on her mother, who’s slipping into dementia. Her return stirs up the same unnerving sense of disconnect Hannah has felt since childhood—always the odd girl out, the loner outshone by her two older sisters. Hannah knew the feelings of hurt would come back. But she never expected fear. Because when her mother looks into her eyes and whispers, “You’re not my daughter,” Hannah is beginning to believe it’s not just the rambling of a confused woman.
It’s the truth.
Now Hannah’s following the trail of a family mystery to the dark coast of Big Sur, where years ago a lie was born—and buried. As frightened as she is to unearth it, Hannah knows this is the last chance she has before her past—and all its terrible secrets—are lost forever.I am giving Half Past by Victoria Helen Stone a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.
Until my next post, happy reading!!