Cover Image: Becoming Marlow Fin

Becoming Marlow Fin

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Member Reviews

I must say I thought this would be a good and interesting book but having read it I was rather disappointed. I didn't like the way it was written adn felt it was disjointed and didn't flow well. This made it rather hard to read and follow. I didn't have any real substance and the characters didn't gel with me.

This is not my kind of book to read but may be for others. I have to give it only 2 stars.

Thank you NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Becoming Marlow Fin was one crazy ride!!! Holy Moly! This story is about sisters, loyalty/betrayal, perception and manipulation. This book always left me guessing. It was very well written. I was constantly engaged and not wanting to stop and put it down even when life told me to. I found the POV switch slightly distracting at times but I was able to get back into it. The character and world building was immersive and flawless.
I would recommend this to anyone looking for a mind messing experience. Highly Recommend! 4.25 🌟🌟🌟🌟

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Becoming Marlow Fin was a book which surprised me - it was told in a different way with scenes from various time-points as well as a TV interview scenario and I wasn't sure if all these different points of view would be difficult to get immersed in the story - I was wrong. I kept turning the pages, wanting to know what happened next, what would happen at the end.

It tells the story of Isla who finds a girl in the woods by their cabin one day. This girl then becomes part of their family. The girl - Marlow - is created in a way which makes you not trust her, she's quiet one moment, wild the next, does some crazy things. It makes for an unsettling read.

I loved the way the girls bonded with their grandmother, that was very tender.

The story was compelling.

However, I found that a lot of it was unnecessary, some moments just didn't add to the story at all and I didn't actually LIKE any of the characters - Marlow was unpredictable, Isla came across as not really being very clear on what she wanted, the dad was odd, the mother odd but in a way which felt too forced by the author... I felt like the author just tried to create as much death as possible so that took away from some elements of the story.

Overall, I did enjoy this and found it absorbing, so it still gets 4 stars.

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Twisty, turny and full of drama, Becoming Marlow Fin was unputdownable. Still reeling from the ending.

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An interesting read that had a lot going for it and will leave you with more questions than answers.

The pieces of a troubled actress’s mysterious life come together in a riveting novel about family secrets and unspeakable lies as she discusses it in a tell all interview.

Early on, this book sucked me in. The premise is immediately intriguing and I wanted to know MORE!

While the plot is there and the overall book is fine, I struggled throughout this read.

Despite readability and a fast paced, short read, this book tries to be a lot of things all at once. I was sure what I was supposed to focus on or get out of it. Is it a family drama? Is it a mystery/thriller? Should I be focusing on race, childhood, or addiction? So much is happening!

There are quite a few main characters, all with their own plots and motivations, but none of them feel fully fleshed out. I didn't feel like I could root for any of them, but rather just read along trying to understand where it was going. And in the end, they're all kind of despicable and/or nonsensical with the exception of the grandmother. There could have been so much more emphasis on Marlow and/or the mom especially in the aftermath of everything revealed, but it's all left very open ended and vague.

And so many plot holes, loose ends, unnecessary deaths, glazed over traumas, etc.

And finally, that ending? Whew...I didn't see the twist coming, but the ending scene that finishes off the story felt so incomplete and unsatisfactory for the buildup. It leaves me with more questions and makes this read feel like somewhat of a waste given the build up.

I think readers will enjoy this read for the shock value and celebrity aspect, in which case, I recommend it. But buckle up for a wild ride.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for my free electronic advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Wow. Okay. What a rollercoaster.

I’m not sure where to start!

Becoming Marlow Fin is told mostly from the perspective of Isla Baek, who found Marlow Fin abandoned in the woods behind her family’s holiday cabin when they were both children. Marlow is then adopted into the Baek family, who are seemingly unaware of the devastation she will bring to all of their lives.

This book has it all. There were ups, there were downs, there were gasps and there were jaw drops.

The twists and turns alongside the jumps in perspectives and time certainly kept me on my toes. I had to refer back more than once to keep up with what was happening in each of the time periods mentioned and although I’m *pretty* sure that I understood the ending, there’s a chance that I’ve not understood it at all!

Overall, a really good book and one that will interest those who enjoy guessing and second guessing what is happening as they read.

I’d definitely recommend it.

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There is so much to recommend in this psychological story of a family in crisis. Issues of belonging, betrayal, racism and family trauma are explored. There are mysteries as well that lie underneath the heart of the story. I think my students will come to love this book

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A deep exploration of the relationship between two sisters. One of them is the mysterious girl who was found in the woods by their cabin, grown up to be a model/actress with addiction issues. Her story is told in part in an on air interview, the other sister tells us her story. Very complicated relationship between the mother and the father in this multi-cultured family. There are many mysteries woven into the story and we watch them slowly get unwrapped. Worth the read

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Families are dysfunctional, no matter how put together they appear, because they are made up of broken humans. The Baek family is no different. They have some skeletons in their closets. This story is told from multiple POVs, over a 40-year span, in various formats which all keep the story moving forward. Won Steil did a phenomenal work of writing a combination of characters. There are some that their instability oozes off the pages making you dislike and distrust them while others are those you want to know and you don’t expect any secrets from them.

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I have been in a bit of a reading slump these past couple of weeks but let me tell you, this book pulled me right out of it.

We have Isla, a young girl with a loving Mother, Father & Moni. They are on holiday in their Cabin when everything changes. They find Marlow.

Cue the coldness of the Mother, the strange behaviour of Marlow, the amazing cooking from Moni, the friendship with Sawyer & Oliver.

Marlow is interviewed when she is older and we get her side of the story. What really happened to Marlow Fin all those years ago?

This story will keep you reading & reading. Turning every page. I read this book in one day. I could not put it down. The writing style, the twists & turns in this book. I absolutely loved this & it's my first 5 star book of 2024.

Well done Ellen Won Steil. Brilliant book!! 👌🏻

Thank you so much to NetGalley for allowing me to read this amazing book before it's release date.

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"Becoming Marlow Fin" is a captivating mystery-thriller that delves into the life of the famous Marlowe Fin, from the curious story of where she came from, her blended family, and the tragedies of her life. Told through a prime-time interview, personal narrative, and flashbacks, Ellen Won Steil crafts a tale that is just the right amount of a slow burn, teasing out the mystery while making you compulsively turn the pages, but not diluting the pay off at the end by making you wait too long.

I loved the use of mixed media, multiple character perspectives, and multiple timelines. A curious family drama and psychological thriller that is a must read.

Thank you to Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Let me tell you, i just finished reading this ARC : Becoming Marlow Fin and my mind is 🤯

This book is a total PAGE-TURNER! ️ It's got mystery, family drama, and twists that'll have you saying "wait, WHAT?!" Who is Marlow Fin, anyway?

Is she ?
A Lost scaredy-cat in a storm? Glamorous supermodel with a face on every magazine? Or... Just a loving sister for Isla Baek?

Marlow is ALL of this and MORE! This book is like a THRILLER and FAMILY DRAMA mashup, with so many surprises you won't see them coming.


Let's us dive a bit...
So, the story starts with Marlow being found by this seemingly perfect Korean- American family, THE BAEK'S which include Patrick, Stella, Isla and Moni ( stands for Halmeoni or Grandma in Korean ) during a storm outside the cabin wood.

BUT things are NOT as they seem! As Marlow grows up and becomes a mega-star, the cracks start to show in the family face.

I love the way Ellen Won @ellensteil unfolds this story - it jumps between the Isla's perspective and Marlow's own words in a crazy interview. I was hooked from the first page and literally couldn't put it down until I unraveled ALL the family secrets.

If you love mysteries with shocking twists and juicy family drama, then Becoming Marlow Fin is a MUST-READ Novel! 4/5⭐ from me!!

#BecomingMarlowFin #thriller #mystery #familydrama #suspense #bookstagram #mustread #oneweekonebook

P.S. Huge thanks to Lake Union Publishing and @netgalley for the ARC! This review is all me - you gotta check this book out!

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An enthralling story with a great twist at the end. Celebrity model Marlow, a Korean American, is being interviewed about her life. She has said she will tell the truth about her childhood and what happened to her adopted sister, Isla, believed drowned (possibly by Marlow). She has no memory of her life before she joined Isla's family. My favourite character was Moni, maternal and loving to all her family. A book you'll want to read in one go. I had to read snippets of it again to find the clues I missed first time!

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"Becoming Marlow Fin" is a riveting mystery-thriller that intricately explores the complex relationship between the world-renowned Marlow Fin and her dynamic family, chiefly her sister, Isla. The story, narrated through a compelling blend of interviews with Marlow, Isla's personal accounts, and flashbacks, leaves readers engrossed and eager to unravel the entangled mysteries.

The tale revolves around Marlow Fin, Isla, their eccentric family, and an array of supporting characters, all contributing to the story's intricate weave. Ellen Won Steil's writing style is both captivating and fast-paced, deftly painting vivid scenes doused with intrigue. She masterfully constructs a world that transcends ordinary life, offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the life of a global superstar.

The narrative skillfully delves into themes of identity, social turbulence, racial conflict, adoption, mixed race, psychological thrillers, and mystery elements, all of which permeate the storyline. The book maintains a swift narrative pace, striking a deft balance between tension and revelation. However, there are instances when the narrative switches between character viewpoints, requiring readers to momentarily readjust their perception of events and timings.

"Becoming Marlow Fin" is brimming with suspenseful moments, with the prologue drawing readers in from the outset. It creates a thrilling atmosphere that keeps readers engrossed, eagerly turning the pages to uncover the next piece of the puzzle and identify the real antagonist in the story. The narrative is punctuated by unexpected plot twists and enigmatic revelations that add depth to the storyline, notably the revelation of Marlow Fin's true identity. The most surprising element, however, is the unexpected emotional resonance that touches readers so profoundly, it brings tears to their eyes.

Steil expertly incorporates elements of late 1990s and 2000s upbringing, capturing the essence of navigating adolescence and adulthood amidst a fantastical world of real-world celebrities. This blend creates a compelling and engaging fusion that is both relatable and intriguing.

In summary, "Becoming Marlow Fin" is a highly recommended read for fans of psychological thrillers with a hint of mystery and social awkwardness, offering a unique addition to the genre.

Thanks to Netgalley for this ARC.

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If you are looking for a fast paced family drama, mystery/ thriller then you absolutely have to add this one to your tbr list.

Becoming Marlow Fin is the story of what appears to be a fairly average family, the Baek’s. The father Patrick, mother Stella, Grandmother Moni and daughter Isla.
All seems well until they find seven old Marlow at their lake house. From there the story unfolds and many secrets are revealed, some more sinister than others.
Although I found the beginning slow to start, the second half I finished within a day. Every time I put it down I would pick it up again wanting to know what would happen next. The story was immersive and brilliantly written, with so many twists and mysteries you were often on the edge of your seat.
This story is written in the duel prospective of both Marlow and Isla, with Marlows views set out in an interview form. The story is also written across a 30 year time line with a seamless transition between each. I absolutely loved Ellen Won Steins writing style and will definitely be looking out for more of her work in the future.

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The summer ended. I looked up to see it was raining. I caught the drops in my mouth as he whispered in my ear once more. Marry me.

This is where I should have said the end.

Where it should have ended.

Becoming Marlow Fin surprised the heck out of me. I had never heard of the author before this book so I didn’t know her writing style nor what to expect. The above passage was at a point where I thought, is this a romance book, and then other things were revealed.

This book was quite suspenseful and kept me guessing. Family dynamics, secrets, and the longing to be included are what drive this story. Becoming Marlow Fin is full of twists and turns that will have you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

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I really enjoyed this book. At time the time hoping confused me but I do enjoy the charlatans the story. It kept me in suspense for sure.

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This is a very eerie and creepy thriller with twists and turns, each one crazier than the next. Marlow’s character is spine-chilling. You never really grasp her entirely and so many interactions are disturbing-especially the effect she has on Isla. Not a book I will reread but certainly one I will definitely remember.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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I struggled to get into this book but once I did I was smitten. However the ending was such a cliché it really let the book down.

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This books has two of my favourite tropes - epistolary writing and fictional celebrities. I’m happy to say that they worked really well and I very much enjoyed reading this books!
Marlow Fin is a model/actress/all-around star, who first hit the headlines when she is a toddler found wandering the woods. The story time hops between past and present as we learn about her trauma recovery, her newly adopted family and the scandal following her around her missing sister.
Despite the time hops, the different character perspectives and the mix of narrative and interview writing, it’s easy to follow and builds up to a surprising twist.
I’d recommend for fans of Gone Girl, Daisy Darker, and Daisy Jones and the Six. An easy 4* rating and I’ll be looking out for more by this author.
Thanks to NetGalley for a free ARC in return for a fair, unbiased review.

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