The Family I Lost by Ali Mercer
5/10/22; 358 pages
The Family I Lost by Ali Mercer is a highly recommended mystery within a dysfunctional family.
Lisa has grown up knowing that her father was sent to prison for
some crime and that the family of her mother, Julie, completely
cut off all ties with them. When Julie passes away Lisa finds an
address of someone who may be a relative of hers, Amy, so Lisa
writes to her in hopes of some connection. Oddly enough she then
meets Amy's husband Joe, and the two realize that Lisa and Amy are
cousins. Lisa is invited over and meets Amy, Joe, and their
daughter Tilly. Amy is pregnant and due soon, and not especially
cordial to Lisa, but when their son is born and Joe's away for the
summer Amy reaches out to Lisa to help her.
Lisa does end up helping Amy while Joe is gone. As she helps care for Tilly, she persistently feels as if she has been in their house before. Perhaps the answer to her father's crime and the family secret can be uncovered while she is there. It also becomes abundantly clear that Amy's family and their grandmother have a skewed outlook on events.
Lisa is a sympathetic character as she deals with the
dysfunctional family she never knew. Amy is a dislikable
character, enough so that readers will wonder why on earth Lisa
agreed to help this selfish, self-centered woman. It is imperative
that these two women meet and question what they have been told or
know about their family history because they have both been keep
in the dark about the facts.
While the writing is very good and the plot moves along at an even pace, you have to set your disbelief aside in order to appreciate The Family I Lost, especially regarding Amy calling Lisa after one meeting, asking her to help, and then Lisa agreeing to help for months while Joe is gone. Once you've accepted this rather far-fetched premise, then you can sit back and watch the mystery unfold. 3.5 rounded up.