Book Review: There Was An Old Woman by Hallie Ephron

There Was An Old WomanThere Was An Old Woman
Hallie Ephron
William Morrow, April 2013
ISBN No. 978-0-06-211760-1

When children grow up and leave home they lose track sometimes of their parents’ lives and actions.  Evie Ferrante receives a call from her sister Ginger that her mother is ill and it is her turn to go home and try to find out just what is going on.  When Evie arrives at her mother’s home she finds the house in terrible disrepair.  Her mom is in the hospital, and Evie learns that when the ambulance took her mother, Sandra Ferrante, to the hospital that Sandra whispered to Mina  “Don’t let him in until I’m gone.”   Mina writes down the message.  At 91 she doesn’t trust her memory.  Mina has been Sandra’s neighbor for years.   Evie immediately turns to Mina for information and help.

Her mother has a new flat screen TV on the wall.  There is a stock of expensive liquor – much more expensive than Sandra’s usual brand.  Evie can’t understand where the money is coming from.  She attempts to investigate what has been going on in her mother’s life.

Mina is having some episodes that she can’t explain and her nephew Brian is doing his best to get her to move to a assisted living community but Mina is resisting. Mina is strong willed and lives in a small New York City neighborhood at the edge of a salt marsh and plans to live her final days there.  Mina is a character that you will love and not soon forget.

There Was An Old Woman is a story full of suspense and one you won’t want to lay down until you reach the last page and then you won’t want the story to end.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, May 2013.