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One Puzzling Afternoon

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Memories can sustain us, or alternately they can injure our psyche to such an extent that we can bury them deep. Such was the case with Edie Green. At the tender age of sixteen Edie's friend goes missing. Edie knows what happened, yet she cannot divulge the circumstances. She MUST keep Lucy's secret.

Now, Edie is eighty-two and suffering from the early stages of dementia. She is frustrated daily by the loss of her memories and laments her loss of independence. A former English teacher, Edie now forgets how to spell certain words - even forgets the words for everyday objects. Her son, daughter-in-law, and beloved granddaughter want her to move with them to Devon where she will live in a 'granny annex'. Edie doesn't want to leave the town where she grew up and the house where she has spent her entire married life. Now widowed and alone, Edie's grasp on everyday routines is slipping. One day she 'sees' her friend Lucy in town. Lucy has not aged at all... Edie's mind is playing tricks. It is this sighting that spurs Edie to try to discover what happened to Lucy all those years ago. Does she know? Has her mind hidden the truth from her all this time?

Written in dual timelines, this novel was poignant and I felt for Edie's plight. Her tenuous grasp on her memories, and her confusion about how her life is playing out, seemed very real. Let's face it, we all know of someone who is suffering from this terrible disease and it is an eye-opener to experience it from the perspective of one who is coping with it from the 'inside' as it were.

It was interesting to note just what can spur memories to return. A certain smell? A word? A taste?

In the 1950s timeline, we come to realize that Edie's early life was traumatic. She lost her beloved father in a drowning accident right after the war. Her mother was eccentric, had a history of mental illness, and had aspirations of a higher social class. Meanwhile she held seances as a way of earning some much needed income. Then, Edie's mother remarried. Reg, Edie's new step-father, was an odious man.

Part mystery (what happened to Lucy?), part family drama, this novel vividly captured the conflicting emotions of a person suffering from dementia. The story was slow-paced, empathically rendered, and the dual time line plot was well done. I can confidently recommend this book as a novel that will remain in your memory for some time.

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Many thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for gifting me a digital ARC of this wonderful book by Emily Critchley in exchange for my honest review - 5 stars!

In 1951, Edie Green doesn't fit in well at school and is lonely. Her mother has a side job that provokes criticism among the town and her mother's new boyfriend isn't always kind. So when popular Lucy Theddle befriends Edie, she feels happy for the first time. But Lucy has a secret that Edie doesn't feel good keeping. Then Lucy goes missing. In 2018, Edie is now 84 and still lives in her hometown. She is convinced that she spots Lucy at the post office, looking just the same as she did when she disappeared. Her family doesn't believe her because she is prone to mixing things up, but Edie is convinced that she must find out what happened to Lucy.

I absolutely loved this book! Told in these two timelines, we get the backstory while in the present day Edie is trying to search for answers about her lost friend. It's also a story about dementia and how Edie feels when she realizes that she is not as capable as she was, but still wanting to assert her independence with her family. It's heartbreaking but also empowering to see Edie so desperate for answers. Plus, it's a good mystery as to what happened to Lucy so long ago. I couldn't put it down!

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Edie is 84 years old, and her son wants her to move to a care home because she's becoming increasingly confused. When Edie sees a girl on the street who looks exactly like her friend Lucy who went missing over 60 years ago, she is determined to find out what happened to Lucy before it's too late.

I loved the way Critchley wrote the dual timelines and gradually revealed the story - I did figure out the broad strokes of what happened to Lucy fairly early on, but there were still plenty of surprises in store. The synopsis reminded me of Elizabeth is Missing, but I enjoyed reading this much more! I especially loved Edie - she was such a well-developed character, and seeing her try to work through her confusion and "mix-ups" was heartbreaking (and could be difficult for people with personal experiences with relatives with memory issues to read).

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I was really pulled in to this book by the cover and I was not disappointed. This book is a good mix of engaging mystery and sympathy for our protagonist. The mystery was gripping while the storyline was heartwarming. A great read.

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I just finished One Puzzling Afternoon by Emily Critchley and here are my thoughts.
For 60 years she kept a secret. A secret that was not hers.
When Lucy befriends 15 year old Edie she cannot believe her luck! Lucy is pretty and popular, all the things Edie is not. Lucy has a secret, something Edie isn’t sure she can keep to herself then Lucy disappears.
Edie is now eighty-four and still living in the same small town. No one believes her when she says she saw Lucy, 15 year old Lucy in the street. Edie gets confused a lot but not about this. She knows only she can figure out what happened to Lucy before she is gone forever.
This was one of those books that kind of settle on you in a deep impactful way. It was one of those books that takes all the emotions with gripping intrigue and an aura of mystery that will have you wishing the book would never end.
I am not usually a fan of dual timelines but this worked really well for me and the book flowed like a beautiful lyrical river. The prose was heartfelt and I really enjoyed that the author did a bang up job of researching for this book.
I loved the mystery elements in this book and I could really feel the effects dementia has on a person and their family. It was quite an incredible read and while the pace was slower than I normally enjoy, I found the whole book very entertaining and it will definitely be a book I will be thinking about for a long time to come. If you are looking for something light and uplifting, this is not the book for you. It’s quite devastating and if you aren’t prepared for it, it will hit you hard.
4.5 stars. Wow just wow! Loved every moment.


Thank you to @bookmarked and @netgalley for both gifted copies.

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This is a dual timeline story told from Edie Green’s point of view as an 82 year old and as a 15 year old. When Edie was 15 her friend disappeared. She’s kept a secret for her friend all these years but now she can’t remember what it was. She thinks if she can figure out what happened her family won’t think she’s confused anymore.

At 82 our main character is not the most reliable narrator given that she seems to be suffering from mild to moderate dementia. I work with this patient population frequently and the author did a beautiful job of capturing the heartbreak and frustration of this disease for Edie and those that care about her.

This book is really well written and I’m looking forward to reading more by this author.

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Omg this book! This book! This book is Amazing! If I could give it 10 stars I would!
This is such an ENJOYABLE READ and WELL TOLD!

I started reading it last night and found myself up until 2 am in the morning reading it. I literally could not stop reading it! It was the last thing I read before going to sleep and the first thing I read upon waking up. I wanted to know, had to know what happens and how it ends before I set off on my hike into the mountains. I haven't enjoyed a read so much in a while. This book held my attention from start to finish. It ticked every box. It had a great plot that was well executed and the story. flowed so well. The story moves between two-time lines; 1951 and 2018. Both times lines are very easy to follow. The characters are well written and well developed. My favorite timeline to follow was back in 1951, I devoured it. I loved how the author effortlessly connected the timelines. There were no holes in this story, so by the ending, it was well done and cohesive. After I finished the story, I read the extra about the author because I was curious about her background and experience and learned that she has an MA in creative writing, which makes a lot of sense because she is a fantastic writer!
I can't wait to read more books by her.

Thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for allowing me to read this arc for my honest review.

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One Puzzling Afternoon was the most enjoyable and endearing mystery. Edie is in her eighties and knows her mind is slipping but also know she’s quite capable of caring for herself. She feels her world closing in on her as others are trying to manager her. The storyline is about her trying to recall the events surrounding the disappearance of her friend, Lucy, when they were fifteen years old. Edie is determined that she holds the key to solving this decades old case and when she solves it, she will prove to everyone that she is mentally fit. This story is told in dual timelines and full of mystery. It’s cozy with an edge to it.

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This is the story of a woman with dementia who knows she must tell someone the truth about her friend that went missing when she was 15. It is told in two time periods, 2018 and 1951, and is set in the UK. I appreciated the realistic and poignant representation of suffering with dementia, the representation of British life in 1951, and the mystery itself. The story was neither very dark nor humorous, but felt like more of a cozy mystery. 3.75/5

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This book was a big surprise winner for me. The author did a great job of depicting what the early stages of dementia might be like for the affected person, and I thought the dual timelines were done exceptionally well. I felt so emotionally invested that I'm still thinking about this one for quite a few days after finishing - highly recommend!

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In Emily Critchley’s “One Puzzling Afternoon,” an octogenarian named Edie Havercroft, who lives in Ludthorpe, England, is suffering from dementia. She has part-time household help and her son and granddaughter look in on her periodically. Edie, who is trying to fend off the encroaching darkness that is clouding her mind, resents being treated like a helpless toddler. She is particularly troubled by the knowledge that one of her former schoolmates, sixteen-year-old Lucy Theddle, vanished in 1951 and was never seen or heard from again. Edie believes that somewhere in her subconscious is the key to finding out what happened to Lucy.

Critchley’s tale moves back and forth in time between 1951 and 2018. We observe Edie as a shy and insecure youngster whose capricious mother, Nancy, holds seances at night to make a little extra cash. Edie is lonely and is mocked by her peers. Lucy, on the other hand. is a privileged, beautiful, and popular young lady who, unfortunately, makes terrible mistakes. Edie becomes Lucy’s confidante and promises never to speak to anyone about her friend’s reckless behavior.

This is an engrossing and heartrending novel in which Critchley evokes the atmosphere of the fifties, when many women married in haste because of their desire for social status, emotional support, and financial security. The author movingly describes the weight of deep-seated guilt, the fragility of memory, and the ways in which dysfunctional relationships destroy lives. Edie tortures herself, wracking her brain to remember events that occurred more than six decades earlier. We sympathize with this tortured soul who believes that, if she can somehow recollect what she once saw, she might finally solve the mystery of Lucy's disappearance.

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Thank you so much to Sourcebooks Landmark @bookmarked and @netgalley for the ARC of One Puzzling Afternoon by Emily Critchley @emily.critchley. This beautiful novel was published yesterday and I encourage you to get your hands on a copy.

Using a dual-timeline, readers meet 84 year old Edie Green in 2018 and also 15 year old Edie in 1951 England. In 1951 Edie is lonely. Her father passed away and her eccentric mother remarries Reg, a very unlikable character. Then Edie learns a secret about popular Lucy Theddle. Lucy befriends Edie, at first to make sure Edie keeps her secret, but the two grow closer. Edie, though, is nagged by this secret and knows in her heart she shouldn’t be keeping it. Then, Lucy goes missing.

More than sixty years later, Edie is suffering from “muddled spells” (the beginnings of dementia), but swears she sees Lucy in town, looking the same as she did at 15. Something nags at Edie’s memory–she must figure out what really happened to Lucy.

I don’t think I’ve ever read something told from the perspective of a person suffering from the beginnings of dementia. As a reader, to be experiencing Edie’s fading memory along with her is incredibly powerful and hard, but also had me feeling such empathy for Edie. I rooted for her the entire time and found her to be such a wonderful character. My eyes were misty several times and I wanted to hug Edie and help her solve the long-ago mystery. The mystery was well done, especially as it flipped from past to present. This would be an excellent book club choice as well.

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This book was so beautifully written, going back and forth between 1951 and 2018. Edie is suffering from dementia in 2018 and trying desperately to remember what happened to her friend Lucy in 1951, when Lucy disappeared. The way that Edie gets so often confused is heartbreaking, and so well written, and the mystery of Lucy in 1951 is so suspenseful, making this one very hard to put down! I changed my mind about my suspicions as to Lucy’s fate over and over, and I was never truly correct! Such a beautiful read, it had me in tears! highly recommend!

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I received a copy from NetGalley and the publisher for review.

So I think this book has its audience. I just don't think I'm the correct one. While I like mysteries, and books that deal with solving them from the past with new (ish) evidence I think this one struggled to get going and keep my attention. I got about 20% in and then decided to just skip and read the ending and I was right. As soon as Reg was introduced it was like the future opened up and I knew exactly what was going to happen.

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While the story wasn't groundbreaking by any means, I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and characters. I always love a good dual timeline mystery. One Puzzling Afternoon is a great cozy mystery to read on a rainy day!

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One Puzzling Afternoon by Emily Critchley is a beautifully evoative dual timeline story set in an English village. In 1951 teenager Edie lives with her mother in lower class environment. She is in an unlikely friendship with Lucy, the same age. Their lives are unlike in almost every way. Lucy is from a privileged home and in the throes of a forbidden romance with a married man with whom she is smitten. Edie's mother marries which completely changes the family dynamic. Meanwhile, Lucy has trials of her own and disappears without a trace leaving many heartbroken.

Six decades later in 2018, Edie is now in the early stages of dementia and is consequently forgetful. When out of of the blue she spots her old friend Lucy looking as the teenager she knew she is shocked but is convinced she knows what she saw. She feels compelled to research her story. Her faculties may be failing in ways but she is sharp in others. She is bound and determined to discover the truth as she is running out of time.

The 1950s era always interests me and the historical details here really made me feel as though I was there. The story zipped by quickly as the writing is bright, beautiful and emotive and in ways is a social commentary on life in a man's world.

My sincere thank you to SOURCEBOOKS Landmark and NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this poignant and riveting novel.

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A dual narrative from when Edie was 15 and now when she is 84. Her friend Lucy disappeared when they were 15. Now Edie thinks she has seen Lucy, still as a 15 year old. Her memory isn't as good, but she is determined to find the truth of what happened with her friend.

The writing style here wasn't really for me. That's a super personal preference so others might enjoy it more. I do think the dual timeline worked well here.

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One Puzzling Afternoon follows Edie, an elderly woman in the beginning stages of dementia, and her quest to discover the hidden truth behind the disappearance of her best friend Lucy back in 1951. This is told in dual timeline, switching back and forth between their unlikely friendship in 1951 and the present day as Edie believes she sees Lucy. There was a lot to like about this book-the mystery is well done and leaving you guessing until the end. The author does a good job at keeping you invested and bringing the young girls to life. Overall though, I was just left feeling kind of sorry for everyone. Lucy's story is heartbreaking, and Edie's present day life really makes you confront your own mortality. I was just left with a sense of pity-there's no redemption for anyone involved. I did like the ending with Edie and her son but thought the epilogue was pointless.



Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks for the eARC.

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Not exactly what I thought going in but an enjoyable read all the same. The different time line pov’s were very interesting but I have to say all in all it was a very predictable story in the end. I did love the main character and the confusion written in as her pov with having dementia was very good. Overall I would recommend this book for anyone who loves a good mystery.

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I am so very glad to have received a digital ARC from NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark. This review was written without coercion or bias in my very own words. The book is written in two time lines. In 1951 Edie is still in school but planning to move to London in a couple of years to receive her teaching certificate. Edie feels like she is an outcast in both school and out. She is ashamed of her mother's career choice and feels responsible for the death of her father. She has no friends and no outside interests. When she accidentally discovers Lucy's secret, Lucy befriends her. By the time that Lucy disappears I had many likely suspects in her disappearance and could not settle on just one. It was One Puzzling Afternoon for me as I tried to figure it out. The second timeline is set approximately 70 years later. Edie is now 84 years old, living on her own with the onset of dementia. Her family is bringing her into their home and Edie has begun to be obsessed with Lucy's disappearance. Edie feels that she needs to figure out what happened to Lucy before she moves and before the dementia gets worse. The transitions between the timelines is smooth and very easy to follow. The story is well-written. Edie had a very difficult childhood and I was drawn to her and her difficult up-bringing. In the later years, the author shows an intelligent woman and her mind as it would sink in and out of dementia. The author also gives a good picture of the effects of dementia on the family who want to care for her. I totally recommend this book as family, drama, secrets and mystery. Five stars from me.

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