Member Reviews

This is a story regarding the relationship between two sisters; Isla and Marlow. It’s complex with several twists and turns.

At first I was unsure if I enjoyed the story, but the further I delved into the chapters, the more certain I became of my admiration for the book. It drew me in, I appreciated the building suspense the author drew out until the very last page. I also liked the alternating perspectives between the two sisters, it felt as though I got to hear both sisters instead of just Isla - the main narrator of the book. I was able to guess a couple of the twists, thanks to a few well written in hints; but there was still a couple that surprised me!

This is a shorter story but nonetheless a great read to make time for! Thank you for the ARC.

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This book I can't put it down. It tells about so many things. Marlow’s interviews. Isla finds a six-year-old Marlow. Isla’s disappearance. The book is a mixture of mysteries, lies, and other things.

Thanks to the publishers at Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for giving me an opportunity to read this book in order for a review.

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I really enjoyed how good this story was, I was invested in what was going on with the mystery elements. Marlow Fin was a great character and I enjoyed how everything flowed together. Ellen Won Steil has a great writing style and creates realistic and great characters.

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Loved this! Couldn’t put it down! I couldn’t wait to find out what had happened to these two “sisters”. Writing was great. Reminded me of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the Six and Ann Napoliano’s Hello Beautiful.

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Becoming Marlow Fin is a dual timeline novel that follows the discovery of young Marlow in the woods near a family cabin. The story follows the relationship of Marlow and her sister Isla in the past, flashing back from a interview Marlow, who has become a celebrity model and actress, is giving.

As the story progresses we learn that Isla has disappeared. The book raises many questions, like where is Isla? If she's dead, who killed her? And where did Marlow come from?

This was almost a DNF for me. While there were aspects of the story I found intriguing, I found the descriptions of Marlow's relationship with her adopted mother increasingly tedious and heavy handed. The novel did have a satisfying, if not completely surprising, resolution which shed light on the relationship between Marlow and her mother.

Overall, I rate this a 3 star read.

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Thank you Netgalley, Lake Union Publishing and Ellen Won Steil for this arc in exchange for an honest review.

If you like mysteries and family drama, I can definitely recommend this book because you'll never see the plot twists coming. "Becoming Marlow Fin" started a bit slow and only gave little bits of information here and there for about 50% of the book, but keep reading because it's worth it and it'll all make sense later.
I really enjoyed the multiple perspectives and timelines. They weren't confusing and made me want to continue reading. Marlow was an intriguing character, but be careful because she's not your typical heroine and you'll find yourself changing your opinion about her several times throughout the book. My favourite characters were Moni and Sawyer (and they made me cry my eyes out twice). Both my grandmas died when I was a toddler, so I never had a Moni in my life. Still, I was able to get to know that grandmotherly feeling through her. Sawyer was so cute and even though he and Isla had their issues, he always found his way back to her. Isla was the one who suffered most in this book and I wanted to give her a hug so often. She definitely deserved better.
The only reason for me to give 4-4.5 stars instead of 5 is that I wished the book had been 1-2 chapters longer or had an epilogue. It ended too soon for me and I would've liked Isla to get some closure after what she's been through.
All in all, this book kept me on my toes and turned out to be something I didn't expect. I'll be posting about this book on my bookstagram account close to the publishing date.

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I really enjoyed this book! I look forward to reading other books by this author. There were so many twists in this book I didn’t see coming. But then again I rarely can figure books out. I would definitely recommend this book!

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I liked this book and yet I didn't like it.
I loved the twists and turns of the story but sometimes it was hard to keep up the way it seemed to jump around all the time.
However; I was still kept glued to the book.
I did find the interview between Marlow and the reporter kind of interesting.
Even despite the family's misgivings they had made her a family member of that I was happy for.
Some scenes I just didn't care for and I'm pretty sure that as a reader you can pretty much guess what they were.
I think I didn't really like this book because I didn't really like Marlow. I thought her a bit out there so to speak.
My favorite character was Grandma Moni and her wisdom.
I thought the boys were cool characters. Sawyer especially.
In my opinion, no one is meant to see or know the future of anything. Only the Higher power knows which way and how our paths will lead or cross.
It's how we choose them that sometimes leads to these things and the events that happen.
Isla or her family couldn't have known.
I will admit that this story did keep my interest because I wanted to see what happened and why it did.
I can honestly say that I wasn't disappointed at all except as I said earlier too much jumping around.
I feel like this would make an awesome movie for horror fans.
4 stars for a cool adventure. I recommend.
My thank to Netgalley and Lake Union publications for a copy of this book. I was NOT required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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The bond between sisters is often complicated. When that relationship is based on a foundation of lies the complications go deeper than usual. Isla discovers a young girl wondering in the woods around her family’s cabin. Alerting her parents and then the authorities the family takes her in and name her Marlow. The integration of Marlow into the family is challenging but one thing is incontrovertible: Marlow is an exquisite beauty. That beauty attracts the attention of a fashion photographer . Despite her youth Marlow rises to the top of the modeling world and develops a substance abuse problem. Isla, becomes an art galleries and marries her childhood friend Sawyer.. Fissures in the family unit become apparent in this carefully lotted and intricately detailed novel. There are many plot complications in this which are very nicely tied together at the end. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

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Thank you NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the eARC.
After reading some of the stellar reviews by readers, I was really looking forward to reading this book. Unfortunately, I found it a difficult read. I didn't like the writing style and couldn't connect with the characters at all. I tried hard, but gave up without finishing. Sorry!

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This book was so captivating! It started off with such a bang and drew me in instantly. I love how each new detail and event had me changing my opinions of the characters. There were so many things that I didn't see coming, and a few that I guess before hand, but still loved the way they played out. I would have loved just a bit more closure at the end instead of having to use my own interpretation. Unique story line that I haven't seen before.

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“Becoming Marlow Fin” by Ellen Won Steil was an unexpected delightful surprise. It’s about a traumatized 6 year old girl found in the woods on the shores of Lake Superior, and the picture perfect family who finds her and ultimately adopts her. It is a family drama and intense thriller about Marlow, the young girl who grows up to be a glamorous super. model/actress and claims to have no memory about her past, The family already has one daughter and winds up raising the two girls as sisters but something is clearly off and you will not figure this one out until the very end. Hang onto your hats and be prepared to be reading into the wee hours of the night!

Thank you NetGalley and Lake Inion Publishing for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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I found reading this to be a chore. Too much back and forth - it was distracting instead of intriguing and the world painted was boring and strange; unfinished and unremarkable. There just wasn’t a lot of consistency and it was difficult to engage or care about her story. Marlow is a psychopath? Marlow is abandoned? Marlow is quiet and only loves her sister? Marlow is indifferent to anyone else? The pharmacy scene was a bit of a last straw - in our 2023 age it’s a bit off putting to see a minority use their race to make a scene. It happens and then we just move right along - fast forwarding through their life. I lost all respect for the characters after that and was no longer willing to suffer through to bear witness to their tale. Sorry to say that I wouldn’t recommend this title.

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It's not often that I struggle with writing book reviews. Usually I manage to produce balanced critiques — or so I'm told — which kind to write themselves like jigsaw puzzles, each section (of the review) falling into place practically of it's own accord, until I end up with a coherent whole.

Ellen Won Steil'a 'Becoming Marlow Fin' was a different matter. The story, at its core, is a good one. The characters are interesting, ethnically diverse and 'rounded' enough to make the reader want to engage with them. I think it's the writing style and the way the novel is structured that doesn't quite work for me — other readers, of course, may not share my view and that is fine and as it should be. The skipping between different years is a bit confusing and not well executed, imo. I don't think the interview sections work particularly well. I'd have preferred for the revelations about Marlow Fin's background and story to evolve more organically as part of the narrative. Finally, some of the writing is overwritten, I think. The author has clearly taken the 'show, don't tell' mantra very much to heart and imo there is sometimes so much of it that the detailed descriptions of places, smells, etc. and people's appearance and what they're wearing actually loses track of the story itself. There is no room left for the reader's own imagination to play any part in the reading process.

Many thanks to the publishers and to Netgalley for the ARC.

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Becoming Marlow Fin is a tense, tight, family thriller set around Lake Superior. A terrified, abandoned little girl, Marlow Fin, seen by a slightly older girl, Isla, is given shelter by the Baek Family.

Despite the tension’s Marlow brings to the picture perfect Baek’s, she’s adopted and the simmering undercurrent within the family continues, something is off with the Baek’s.

The narrative switches between time, narrator and is told from the perspective of Isla, Marlow and a third woman.

Overall a very enjoyable read. The only let down the ending felt abrupt.

Thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC of this book in return for an honest review.

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Isla Baek is 8 years old when she finds Marlow Fin in a storm outside of the family cabin. Unable to find someone who knows the abandoned child, the Baek family takes Marlow in.

What follows is the story of two sisters—Marlow, a stunning beauty whose enigmatic nature and dangerous outbursts leave everyone on edge, and Isla, who wants nothing more than a happy, stable life with a loving sister.

Told in alternating timelines, this story covers the past in flashbacks narrated by Isla, while the present-day story is in the form of a TV interview where Marlow is coming clean about her past, and the tragedies and heartbreak left in her wake.

I felt that the book started off slow, and a clear plot isn’t revealed until a bombshell midway through Marlow’s interview.

The first few chapters rely heavily on adjectives for every item mentioned. There are “glassy lapis eyes” and “spiral-black vinyl floors” punctuating every other sentence.

After a bit, it settles into a story that feels like it’s missing a plot. The writing is sharper, but you begin to wonder if it’s just the story of an adopted child with a missing past and troubled present.

About a third of the way in, you start to get some context from the present-day interview that alludes to tragedies and accidents that may not have been accidental. At that point, it was easier for me to stay engaged with the story.

There are several dramatic moments that stopped me in my tracks, but one was a particularly good misdirection with a moderately satisfying resolution.

The story isn’t a romp, but it’s also not oppressively dark and heavy. I’d consider it a moderately light read for a thriller, and would recommend it to someone looking for a balance between cozy mysteries and Gone Girl.

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Looking for a family drama full of secrets and unexpected twists and turns, then Becoming Marlow Finn is the book for you. I highly recommend this one!
Thank you NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for my ARC.

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What a gripping story. The beginning was a little slow for me but picked up mid way through but it had plenty of twists and turns.

Thank you NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for this advanced reader copy

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Thanks to @netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for this copy of "Becoming Marlow Fin."

This book is phenomenal! Be prepared to read it in one sitting because you won't be able to put it down.

I was hooked after the first chapter and needed to know all about Marlow. Then the interview format with Marlow worked so well as she vowed to talk about the big mystery. And the flashbacks from Isla's and Marlow's childhood to present kept me glued to the page.

Here's to a great 2024 for @ellenstiel.

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This was the such a good book! The were so many twists and turns in this book that it left me guessing from start to finish. Everything I thought I knew where the story was going there would be a new twist. It was very well written. I would definitely recommend it and I will definitely look for more books by Ellen Won Steil!

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