Member Reviews

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

"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.

Was this review helpful?

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!

Was this review helpful?

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!

Was this review helpful?

"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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

The flashback narrative style worked really to tell the twists and turns of this story. I loved how the author dripped information about the two sisters gradually throughout the book so that the reader got the opportunity to get to know the protagonists slowly. I felt Isla’s pain and wanted her to get her resolution. I would be interested in reading more about this character and finding out what next. I feel less drawn to Marlow’’s story which echoes the indifference that Marlow experienced from those around her. She described feeling like no one wanted her and everyone wanted Isla. The author skillfully imbues these feelings of indifference in the reader too.

Was this review helpful?

This story just fell flat for me. I had a hard time getting into it and it was a struggle to finish.

Was this review helpful?

This book was amazing!! Full of twist I didn’t not see coming! I loved the main character and her story! I did not expect the turns this family had gone through! Beautiful story and well written!! Would read more by this author! Everything is not as it seem when marlow is found abandoned at a lake, where ships is taken in by a family who is staying in a cabin! I was on the edge of my seat with the turn of every page! Such an awesome reach! Thank you netgalley for the chance of reading and experiencing this incredible story!

Was this review helpful?

If you enjoy family secrets, interesting characters and mysteries you will enjoy this book and be unable to put it down.
Marlow Finn is a famous model/actress with a mysterious past. She was found in the woods and adopted by a family. She has no memory of where she came from or how she got there. The book spans decades and in the present she is interviewed on prime time special to uncover the truth surrounding her relationship with her sister and other family members.
The characters were well written and I truly had no idea which way the story would go until the very end. I felt the ending had some loose ends and I was hoping for a few more details to make it feel more complete.
All in all a good, interesting read.
Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

A little girl is found by a family staying in a desolate cabin. When no one comes forward to claim the child, the family adopts her. What first seems an act of kindness, becomes something else entirely when clues begin to surface about the family and their relationship with the foundling. The ending is stunning.

Was this review helpful?

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ FIVE STARS!

FINDING MARLOW FINN was a beautiful and stellar book. ELLEN VON WEIL amazed me with the stunning prose in this book. This was my first book by her and it won’t be my last. I loved this book so much.

This was both a family drama and a thriller which are my two favorite themes. A little girl by the name of Marlowe is found outside during the storm. Shiki isn’t speaking and I can’t call anything before she was found. The parents of the daughter, Isla, who found her decide to adopt her when they can’t find her family. It seems that this is the perfect solution with a well-rounded good family. Of course things aren’t as they seem. There is a lot of tension and anger in the family. There’s tension between the parents and there’s some jealousy intention between Isla and Marlow.

The book is told through Isla and Marlow and was a storm throughout the book building up to its conclusion. There were so many secrets being held and so much emotional turmoil. You won’t want to stop reading this book until you find out how it ends.

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

Was this review helpful?

Sadly, I found this book disappointing and boring. There was drama, but it just wasn't believable to me. And the relationships between the characters felt stilted. I wanted to like it!

Was this review helpful?

Wow what a read! It was an amazing book along the lines of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, with all the twists and turns. Just when you think you have everything wrapped up with a bow, you turn the page and realize how wrong you were. I cannot recommend this book enough! And let me get to the ending, it does not disappoint!

Was this review helpful?