Cover Image: Becoming Marlow Fin

Becoming Marlow Fin

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Member Reviews

A beautifully written book. The time jumps felt very natural and not disjointed, as some can be. I really enjoyed the character development and even though I was sure I knew the ending about half way through I was pleasantly surprised when I was so very wrong. The ending was far more satisfying than anything I was thinking. Truly great book and I look forward to reading more from this author.

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I just have to start off by saying @ellensteil is a literary voice like no other I have read before! This book was so completely immersive, the writing was impeccable, simply put this book was P E R F E C T ! This will be a book that will not only be a favorite of 2024, but of all times!! It is a relatively short book but is jammed packed with the most gorgeous vivid detail and is seriously so fluid that I read this all in one night!

ALSO THE COVER 😍😍😍

5.0⭐️

⭐️THIS BOOK COMES OUT JULY 23TH⭐️

Special thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the review copy in exchange for my honest review❤️

#becomingmarlowfin #ellenwonsteil #lakeunionpublishing #amazonpublishing

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I like stories about families that look like they have it all pulled together but harbor sinister secrets. Becoming Marlow Fin explores one such family, the Baeks, and chronicles their disintegration over almost three decades. It’s got the intrigue of a mystery novel combined with the bittersweet recollections of a coming of age novel.

The mixed media format works well for this book and provides variety that kept me interested. Some chapters are told in first person from the character Isla’s point of view, and some chapters are written as a transcription of the title character Marlow Fin’s televised interview for a talk show.

The timeline switches around between the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. This builds suspense and I was curious to see how all the different vignettes would come together. I was satisfied by the conclusion.

I’m recommending this book to anyone who likes interesting books about family dynamics and the ways secrets are both hidden and revealed.

Thank you Netgalley and the publishers for giving me a free digital ARC for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

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I had a hard time with this book. It wasn't that the storyline wasn't clear, but it was missing elements or didn't address some things that would've made the character development more compelling. It's hard to explain without spoilers, so I will just say the characters' motivations, actions, personalities, traumas, etc, didn't seem consistent from one scene to the next and didn't feel genuine. I like unlikable characters, but it's still nice to know more about why they might seem caring at one minute and nearly killing someone the next.

Thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for the opportunity to read and review.

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Well-paced, page-turner, family drama all rolled into a mystery! Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to read this eARC! Who is Marlow, the young girl who finds this family, or did they find her? We follow Marlow from 6 years to adulthood, where did she come from, where is her family and will she destroy the family that adopted her? Does Marlow love her adopted sister and family, and do they love her? There are 3 timelines in this mystery, but it is usually easy to follow. I couldn't wait to get back to this book every time I had to put it down. The author has a great writing style, the characters are well-developed, and the story keeps you interested and involved. I thought I had this mystery all figured out, but the story zigged when I zagged. I love that! The ending will keep you guessing. 4.5 stars!

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Isla and her parents are in their cabin when Isla discovers another little girl; Marlow
The story goes their shared life and subsequently their different paths after Marlow becomes famous.
They both try to find out hidden truths, lies and secrets, along with shared heartbreak.
I think readers are either going to love or hate this book.

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If you’re looking for a gripping read, this is it! I powered through this in 2 days as I was so hooked.

The Baek family find a young girl in the woods near their holiday cabin, and she becomes part of their family when her parents can’t be found, despite Mrs Baek’s resistance. Growing up as a sister to their daughter Isla, the young girl, Marlow, becomes an actress and model. Interwoven with flashback chapters detailing the Baek family’s history and Marlow’s (sometimes troubled) integration, are chapters of an interview between Marlow and a journalist - about Isla’s unexplained disappearance and probable murder. Just what is Marlow capable of? And why?

This book kept me guessing. It’s easy to feel sympathy and a connection with Isla, which drew me in to the story. Moni (the grandmother) and a Oliver are other characters you quickly warm to, but some of the others are more complex…
Highly recommendable if you like mysteries, family drama etc.

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If you need a fast paced, keep you up til all hours, messy family drama/thriller, this is the book for you!
Marlow Fin is a world renowned model and actress, sitting down for an exclusive interview after an incident, which you do not find out what that is until mid-book. Best known for her celebrity, she first became known when she was found, abandoned, in the woods of the Baek family cabin. A Korean-American family with a daughter Isla, who was first to find her, the Baeks take in Marlow as their own when no family is found. Isla and Marlow form a strong bond, which is then shared with the neighborhood boy, Sawyer, who moves in across the street.
While there have always been town whispers about how Marlow joined the Baek family, they seem a content family. But if you look closely, you will see tension in the family dynamic, and small signs that not everything is well.
Told from flashbacks to present time, from the perspective of Marlow and Isla and snippets from the interview, you slowly find out the secrets that are have been hiding in plain sight. While Isla and Marlow have always been close, they drift apart as Marlow finds fame. Their close bond is tested when Isla marries childhood friend Sawyer, and the layers of betrayal, lies, and secrets begin to unravel after a tragic loss.
Whoo boy. I THOUGHT I saw the twist coming....and I did to a degree- but it was SO MUCH WORSE than you originally think. This is a book where you will get to a certain point and won't be able to put it down until you've reached that last page, and a final discovery that will LEAVE. YOU. SHOOK.
Thank you Netgalley for my advance copy. Pub date 7/23/24

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This book drew me in from the beginning! I enjoyed the development of the characters throughout the story. While some parts were predictable it was still an enjoyable read. I was a bit confused by the ending at first but overall liked the book!

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Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to ready my very first ARC!

I’d give this one 3.5 stars. This story certainly kept my interest with lots of twists and turns throughout, but despite alternating viewpoints, I felt like I was left a little confused as to how the varying characters felt about one another and the ebbs and flows of their relationships over time.

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I really enjoyed this mystery about how the pieces of a troubled actress's mysterious life come together in a great story about family secrets and unspeakable lies

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I read this book in two days. The characters appeared to be stereotypical, but their actions surprised and engaged me. Telling the story through a tell-all interview seemed like it would be a one-sided story, but it was not. The characters broke their stereotypes with their unexpected choices and actions. And, the story’s unexpected ending surprised me. I shared the premise of the novel with my students and they were intrigued and asked me to purchase copies for my classroom library.

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This book sounded really interesting and original from the outset and it didnt disappoint. Right until the very end, I was piecing together the many stories in its pages, and the finale was truly worth the wait. Highly recommend for mystery fans and fans of family dramas. I hope this book finds a large audience because it's special.

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I enjoyed parts of this. The beginning, when Marlow was found, drew me in, but after that it drifted away from my expectations. The interview chapters sounded a bit stilted and contrived. The reveal of what happened was a bit of an anti-climax, so I did not think the plot really worked. I think it would have worked better as a family drama without trying to be a thriller.

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Marlow Fin has presented Jodi Lee with the most significant interview opportunity of her life and it happens to be the only interview Marlow has ever granted. Who is Marlow Fin? Marlow is prepared to reveal the real story behind who she is and shed light on the aspects of her life even she finds too unsettling to tell. A story that will change everything.

I enjoyed this book and getting to know about the events that led up to Marlow gracing us all with this exclusive interview! The family secrets and drama led to an ending that I never saw coming, but the signs were all there; making this book more of a mystery to me than a thriller. The author's decision to alternate between different points in time was executed skillfully, and I appreciated the dual perspectives of both Marlow in the present and Isla's narrative from the past kept me engaged in the story without becoming confused. My favorite character being Halmoni, she truly is the calm in the storm. Every family needs a Moni! I would love to witness the transformation of this book into a television or movie adaptation. This book was a great introduction to my first encounter with Ellen Won Steil's novels and I now have Fortune on my TBR list! I am leaving this review voluntarily. Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the opportunity to read this Advance Reader Copy.

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In this, the author’s second book we meet Isla, age 8 at her family’s lake house along Lake Superior with parents Patrick and Stella and grandmother Moni. A terrible storm rises and Isla finds a little girl, all alone outdoors.

Cut to, interview transcript with famous model/actress Marlow Fin. Marlow is a somewhat notorious character, with past addiction issues and a serious temper, but there is also a tragic issue the interviewer seeks to explore. Is it possible Marlow is a murderer?

Good, fast-paced family drama that kept me turning the pages. Lovely descriptions of Korean food that remind me of CRYING IN H-MART. Also a nice love story thrown in. So a little something for everyone. Recommended.

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In 1995 Isla finds abandoned six-year-old Marlow in the woods near her family's lake cabin. With little memory of her past, Marlow is ultimately adopted by the Baek family. When Marlow is 17, a modelling agency discovers her and she becomes a famous actress and model. Normally very secretive, Marlow is now giving an interview to a journalist to talk about her life.
A bit of a slow start, but ultimately a really emotional read.

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One can’t predict the other person’s life. A person can hide a lot behind the facade they wear. And families are not always happy, there are a lot of secrets and mystery. Marlow’s life wasn’t easy. The book has twists after twists. It kept me on the edge of my seat. Reading the book was like unravelling the pieces of puzzle to get to the bottom of the mystery. Marlow is famous for her beauty and success but her past is so unsettling and heartbreaking. Baek family adopted Six years old Marlow but her mother never accepted her. Slowly and gradually, the secrets begin to unveil. As the secrets unveiled, it has also revealed the truth of relationships. The book has multiple timelines and the truth has been shared through Interviews as Marlow decided to tell her story. Before the interviews, there were myths, lies, mystery and rumours but after that it all became clear. The ending shook me.

Thanks to Author, Publisher and Netgalley.

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While a family of three is up in their vacation home, daughter Isla sees a little girl outside alone in a storm and chases after her. The family takes her in and, at the insistence of the father, eventually adopts her.

I wouldn’t necessarily call this a thriller but rather the aftermath of and the mystery surrounding this one pivotal event over the span of 20-some years.

This book was rather emotional and did keep you intrigued throughout. There are multiple POVs and timelines that it jumps back and forth between to slowly uncover the whole of the story.

At times I found some of the details a little confusing to follow but overall I really enjoyed this book and the characters in it.

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It’s the interview that everyone wanted. Marlow Fin, infamous model and actress, is finally going to admit what happened that fateful night at the cabin, the cabin where she was found decades before that brought her into the Baek family. With little memory of what was before, Marlow is raised in a typical Mid-Western family.

Isla is the older sister, the one who found Marlow, and feels responsible for Marlow all her life. These responsibilities have left her with only tragedy and estrangement. When Marlow pushes to reunite with Isla, all the secrets of the past are revealed. Was a crime committed that night at the cabin? Marlow has the answers but is she willing to tell the world all the unthinkable horrors of her past.

This book took me a while to get into. The jump from past and present can be a bit confusing, but the overall suspense and intrigue is what kept me reading. The plot of the story is fantastic, but the unraveling was a bit confusing. Overall, it was a good read.

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