Cover Image: Becoming Marlow Fin

Becoming Marlow Fin

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Member Reviews

A dark, deep, tangly mystery with a surprising ending, Becoming Marlow Fin explores a family’s life of drama and tragedy after finding a young girl, seemingly an orphan, in the woods. Ellen Won Steil has written an interesting dual timeline story of these complex relationships.

Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the opportunity to read this ARC.

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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Genre: Mystery Thriller

Exactly as the name of the book suggests, this is the tale of how Marlow Fin rose to the status of celebrity that she currently holds. Starting from the moment she was found as a young girl who had been abandoned and taken in by the Baeks family, to the time she grew up within the family and experienced everything that happened to them, and finally to the point where she became the famous celebrity that she is today.

Given that this is a mystery thriller, it is only natural that there is something ominous going on. In addition, as the narrative unfolds, you, as a reader, will become increasingly skeptical. A twist is also included, which I did not anticipate coming. The book is well structured. The events of the story take place in three distinct time periods. In the first one, the story begins in the past and progresses towards the present. Isla tells the story in the first person. In the second one, the story takes place in the 1980s. In the third one, the story takes place in the present and is told as an interview with Marlow.

I found this to be a decent mystery thriller, and there were times when it piqued my interest; however, I believe that two major elements prevented me from finding it more captivating. First and foremost, there is the pacing issue. I found that at times it was too slow for my liking, and at other times it progressed faster. The second one, which I believe to be the most important one for me, is that the crimes did not have any motivations behind them. My initial question, regardless of whether it is a crime from real life or a work of fiction, is always why. The story doesn’t have this answer, affecting the plot's believability. Despite that, I still appreciate the author’s way of using the heavy themes in the story.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of this book.

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Thank you NetGalley and Ellen Won Steil for the ARC of this incredible book. I love a book that makes you go between hating and loving a character. A lot of the characters in this book were so easy to relate to and there were times it made me think of my own family - especially being a Minnesota native. This book had romance, death, family drama, strong female characters which of course are all things I look for in a great book. The author is super talented, and I can't wait to buy a copy and add it to my library of all my favorite books!

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This book just wasn’t for me. I wasn’t into a child basically being considered evil from the start. The story just rubbed me the wrong way and I wasn’t a fan. It felt like parts of the book were just set in motion to make one character look bad. Yeah umm, it’s a pass for me.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the arc

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Everyone knows Marlow Fin, model and actress and about to give the ultimate exclusive interview. She was found aged 6 by the family that came to adopt her. Told from her sister Isla’s perspective who found her and alternating with the current day interview you get to try and know… who is Marlow Fin really?

This was FASCINATING! The tensions, the red herrings! Very well done! I don’t know what I had expected at first, but this took me somewhere else! The main characters begin likeable and all grow to become unlikeable by the end by beautifully crafted narrative!

Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for this ARC!

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Becoming Marlow Fin drew me in from the very first page and kept me enthrawled until the very last. This story followed the life of Isla and her family from the moment that she discovers a young girl in the middle of the forest during a rain storm. What is the mystery of this girl called Marlow? Marlow's family is nowhere to be found, and therefore is adopted by the Baek family. The story follows these girls as they grow up together, their neighborhood friends, and the author does a wonderful job creating this nostalgic feeling of being young and free. However, there is a darker undertone within, which creates a thriller aspect to this story. The story is told in two formats, one from the view of Isla, and the other in an interview format between Marlow and a tv interviewer. There are some twists I did not see coming, and couldn't put the book down until I knew how things ended for Isla and Marlow. I loved this book, the nostalgic aspects, the character development, the family relationships and history, and the secrets exposed in the end. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy read of this exciting story.

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Absolutely fantastic. I couldn't put this down. The book is told through an interview in addition to the narrator's account. It is captivating to go back and forth between the two. The story was gripping, intense, and extremely well done.

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I was riveted with this book. It kept me company over a couple of nights of menopausal insomnia. It felt fresh and different l found the writing vibrant and I really felt I knew the characters.
Loved it!

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Thank you Netgalley for the ARC of this book. I am a sucker for family saga/drama books and this was fabulous! The storyline was brilliant and kept me wanting more after every chapter. The characters were well drawn. This was a startling and compelling read. Highly recommend

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Becoming Marlow Finn is a captivating journey through the depths of human resilience and self-discovery. Set against the backdrop of a picturesque coastal town, the novel follows the transformative odyssey of Marlow Finn as she navigates through the complexities of life, love, and identity. The story is expertly woven with elements of both a thrilling mystery and a poignant family drama, creating a narrative tapestry that is as gripping as it is emotionally resonant.

I overall really liked this book. The books blends aspects of a thriller and a family drama book well. The book kept me entertained with rich characters and powerful themes. The tension builds till the last page. This book is a good blend of Evelyn Hugo and The Heiress. I highly recommend this book!

The character development in Becoming Marlow Finn is nothing short of remarkable. Marlow is a deeply flawed yet profoundly relatable protagonist whose journey of self-discovery mirrors our own search for purpose and meaning. Her interactions with a diverse cast of supporting characters add layers of depth and complexity to the story, enriching the overall narrative tapestry. Through Marlow's trials and triumphs, readers are reminded of the resilience of the human spirit and the transformative potential of love and compassion.

Thank you NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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This is my second Ellen Won Steil read having read Fortune back in 2023, I added Becoming Marlow Fin to my TBR when I realised there was a new EWS book on the way. So when I saw it was available to read on NetGalley I was excited to read it before it was released. I was sucked in from the start but was left feeling a bit meh by the end and I feel like I have more questions than answers. It was an okay read but I'm not sure I'd rush to read again.

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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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