Monday, June 15, 2009

Review and Giveaway: The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos by Margaret Mascarenhas

From the back of the book:
Fifteen years ago troubled teenager Irene Dos Santos went missing in the lush Venezuelan jungle. Her best friend, Lily, was found nearby, semiconscious, with no memory of what had happened. Now, years later, as she prepares to give birth to her first child, Lily has a visionof Irene. Whether it's a memory, a dream, or a ghost Lily can't be sure, but she is finally ready to uncover the truth about what happened that fateful day ...
Rating: 4.5/5.0

First let me admit that I am not a literary fiction/book club fiction type reader. But this book may have changed my mind about that. I was so completely absorbed in this book that I lost track of time while laying out and baked a little too long on my stomach that day. That is how completely I got into the story.

Centered around pregnant Lily, and her last days of her pregnancy spent in bed due to a fall with all of her family and close friends around her. Each of them entertains her with a story, mostly stories of their past that she has never heard. She hears from both her mom and dad how they met and other things from her husband, her nanny that helped raise her and still works in her house, her nanny's daughter who is like a cousin to her, her midwife and mother's good friend, and a few others. The suspense builds through the book because the main question is what happened to Irene Dos Santos, Lily's good friend from childhood. The book as a whole flows very well and when you are left questioning at one moment, the questions are eventually answered.

This story was different to me because it is told by different people and you learn things about the past and the present when they are telling their story. When I read this book I was there with whoever was telling the story at the minute. I enjoyed learning about each character and how their lives intertwined with the other characters. It's amazing to get to the end of this book and think back and realize how all the characters though very different at times were interconnected. This is one of those books you finish and say "Wow" and then you want to read it again so you can put more together. It's kind of like seeing the Bruce Willis movie The Sixth Sense for the first time and then you want to go back and watch it again to see if you pick up on all the clues (no it's not told from dead people's perspective, it's just the only way I can describe it). You can take it all in on the first reading, but it's so enjoyable and intricate, that you want to read it again to get the full effect.

An amazing book. It took me to a different culture (it takes place in Venezuela) and through a wonderful cast of characters that will stick with me. I finished this one on Saturday and I am still thinking about this story and the characters and I think I will for a long time to come. Very touching and different. This is one book you don't want to miss.

On Sale Date: June 19, 2009
Date Started: 06-11-2009
Date Finished: 06-12-09
From: Miriam Parker at Hachette Books (ARC)
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: General Fiction
Pages: 384
Extras: Contains two articles of real things that have happened that give life to this story and also Discussion Questions for book groups (and both of these are in English and Spanish.

Read an excerpt here.

Miriam Parker has offered to send out one copy of this wonderful book to a winner from the blog so you will actually be getting the book instead of my arc! Thank you Miriam for offering this book to giveaway.

Contest will run through Wednesday June 25th (note: change in date) at midnight and I'll draw the winners and post on either Sunday or Monday (I never know how my weekends will go). Giveaway is open only to the U.S. and Canada. For entries:

  1. Leave a comment (and make sure I have a way to contact you)
  2. Become a follower or if you are already a follower let me know (for an additional entry)
  3. Twitter about the contest (use @cfulcher so I will see it) and let me know about it (for an additional entry)
  4. Blog about the contest, sidebar mentions are fine (for an additional entry)
  5. Tell me about another book that is kind of on the same lines as this one, because I would love to read more books like this.

Links to Other Reviews:

Find it at IndieBound.



Linna said...

I'm outside US. Too bad. It looks really interesting. Hope whoever gets it will enjoy it. :D

Anonymous said...

This sounds beautiful. I'd love to travel to Venezuela, so please sign me up!
stacybooks at yahoo

Jessica ( frellathon ) said...

Sounds like a great read. I'd love to win. jessica(at)fan(dot)com

Lee said...

Thank you for the good review of the book. This one looks interesting.

Alexia561 said...

Please count me in!

Hoping this entry goes thru, as got strange error messages when I've tried to enter before.

L said...

I'd love to be entered. This book sounds really good.
I'm a follower.
I posted a link on my sidebar here:


Unknown said...

I am glad you linked up an older but good review! I had to double take the date when you mention getting sunburned ;)


Martha Eskuchen said...

Good review Crystal! The book sounds a bit different than what I usually read too but you are able to create an interest in reading it!

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