Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “The girl in the tower is a romantic image to anybody but the girl in the tower.”
They were called “The Lucky Ones; ” the foster children who were chosen to live with the wealthy Dr. Vincent Capello at his beach house, nicknamed the Dragon, in Clark Beach, OR.
Allison Lamarque looks back on those idyllic days fondly, except for the part where she almost died and was whisked away to live with her aunt, never to see her foster siblings or the good doctor again. That is until she receives a letter thirteen years later from Roland Capello, the oldest lucky one. Dr. Capello is dying and Roland asks Allison to come home and make a dying man’s wish come true.
Allison heads to Oregon with a thousand and one questions. What really happened that night? Was it an accident or did someone try to kill her? And why didn’t Dr. Capello fight to keep her?
Allison reconnects with her foster siblings and tries to figure out what happened that night, using her own fragmented memories and those of everyone who was there. The deeper she digs, the more she realizes that no one is who they really seem and the truth is far more horrific than she could have ever imagined.
Reisz starts her latest adventure with a breakup. Allison Lamarque has been the secret mistress of a very rich man since she was nineteen. Her lover, Conner McQueen from The Bourbon Thief, reveals he has gotten another woman pregnant and he chooses them over her, effectively ending their six-year relationship. She is angry, hurt, and unsure what to do after she has literally been at McQueen’s beck and call for so long. When she receives a letter from her past, she decides a change of scenery is just what she needs and packs her things to head home. She is determined to understand exactly what happened all those years ago and finally lay it all to rest.
“Too many secrets in this house. So many that they were beginning to sound like…lies.”
Love, betrayal, secrets, and most importantly, family, are the ingredients in the potent cocktail Reisz mixes as she sits down to tell us the story of The Lucky Ones. This psychological thriller enthralls with suspense and intrigue as Reisz takes readers deep into the human psyche and shows us all the wonders and horrors it contains. The steady pace and smooth storyline are heavily influenced by the narrative as the reader becomes instantly captivated by the strong elements of love and mystery that surround this cast of exceptionally flawed characters.
“You know what they say…ours is not to wonder why. Ours is but to drink bourbon and rye.”
Allison is an intelligent and independent woman who was orphaned at a very young age. She briefly found happiness afterward until that too was snatched from her. Stubborn with pride and in possession of a very dry wit, there is a faint sense of melancholy that surrounds her. Hints in her narrative show that her life hasn’t progressed as she has hoped. She has been let down by almost everyone in her life through either fate and choice. Yet, she takes it on the chin like a champ and gets right back up swinging.
“You weren’t my mistress. It’s so…”
“Melodramatic. This was always a friendly business arrangement.”
“I see. So you’re not dumping me, then. You’re firing me.”
“You don’t make it easy on a man…you could say thank you. Most girlfriends don’t get severance pay after a break up.”
“I’m not your girlfriend, remember?”
Heading back to the Capello household is the first thing she has done for herself in years and she is determined to pay her respects, get some answers, and continue on her way along the coast. Seeing Roland Capello opens a floodgate of memories, reminding her of things she forgot in her “accident.” How much she loved him as a brother and how those feeling gradually changed into something more potent and forbidden.
Roland kissed her like he’d spent the last thirteen years waiting to have a chance again…In an instant, she was that twelve-year-old girl again, feeling those strange terrifying desires for the first time. Her heart raced, her blood pumped; she ached between her legs.
Roland is quite an enigma and upon meeting him, you instantly get the feeling something’s not quite right. Gorgeous and charming, he is now a monk though on sabbatical to care for their father. His need to atone is felt and you are instantly left to wonder why. The focus is strong on Allison and Roland as Reisz builds their story in layers, flashing between the past and present to give us the background and clues we need to get to know the two people whom fate seems destined to bring together. Their whimsical banter and intense sexual chemistry delightfully contrast with the growing feelings of horror and disbelief along the edges the further along you get into the story.
“We have a rule in this house, if you don’t remember, and it’s a good rule. We don’t talk about the past.”
Overly verbose at times as Reisz repeatedly hammers certain details into our psyche, the basis of her story, the human mind and the many horrific treatments used to try and fix mental illnesses, punch you straight into the gut. Especially when you realize these treatments and instruments of torture were used on real people well into the 20th century. Reisz addresses the different medical attitudes revolving about sociopathy and its derivatives, providing an interesting history lesson.
An interestingly eclectic cast of characters offer help or try to hinder Allison’s investigation. Chameleon like, we aren’t really sure what their role in the previous events are though each person’s background and connection to Allison is dissected and expanded on, providing answers to the questions plaguing the story.
The mystery behind Dr. Capello, the various foster children who lived with him, and Allison’s accident is altogether a dramatically horrific tale that left me shocked and saddened but hopefully for the future. A person’s ability to rise above their circumstances is astounding as is what the human mind can do to protect itself from certain events. What you expect and what you eventually get are two very different things and they create a moral dilemma of sorts that stays with you long after you close the book.