Publish Date: April 21, 2020
“Four minutes. That’s all it took to steal a child. A lollipop, a Santa suit, and two hundred forty seconds.” – Little Secrets
Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They’re admired in their community and are a loving family—until their world falls apart the day their son Sebastian is taken.
A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding Sebastian, she learns that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman. This discovery sparks Marin back to life. She’s lost her son; she’s not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix.
I am very excited to share my review of Jennifer Hillier’s latest book with you because Jar of Hearts was one of my favorite reads of 2019.
On the basic, this story is about a missing child and a mother’s worst nightmare come true. Jennifer Hillier takes this concept and amps up the plot by weaving in betrayal, stalking, revenge, complicated, tortured, likable characters, and a very generous amount of cray cray to make exceptional grip lit.
Jennifer Hillier is one of the best thriller writers today. She engages readers quickly into the story, knows exactly how to build suspense and pull readers into unexpected directions, to the point where you can’t stop binge-reading. She has thought-provoking quotes sprinkled throughout. Her writing made me feel so many things: anguish, anxiety, sorrow, anger… all of the feels. I loved this book.
I loved how the full story is revealed slowly through switching timelines, flashbacks, and perspectives. Slowly, everything is uncovered and the big truth at the end is unexpected, shocking, twisty, and left me with my mouth hanging open.
The story is told from both Marin and MacKenzie’s perspectives. Both are likeable and flawed characters. Jennifer Hillier’s writing made me relate to both of them: Marin as a mother, wife, and career woman; and Kenzie as a desperate, down-and-out girl trying to dig herself out of her poverty hole.
I enjoyed how it takes place in the Seattle and greater Washington areas, and showed both the high-end lifestyles & neighborhoods, and the gritty side of town. The characters straddled both sides and it was a fascinating balance.
The plot entranced me. How will Marin deal with the heartbreak of her abducted child, and her cheating husband? Will Kenzie convince Marin’s husband Derek to leave Marin for her? What happened to Sebastian? I had to know, and I binge read most of this book.
My favorite quotes:
“Hope lasts only so long, can carry you only so far. It’s both a blessing and curse. Sometimes it’s all you have.”
“Sadness has knocked her sideways, debilitated her, confused her, made her weak, talked her into settling for things she doesn’t want, and never did. Rage, on the other hand, will get shit done.”
“They are enemies. Of the most mortal kind.”
“Funny how life can blow up in a matter of minutes. One minute, you have a son. The next minute, he’s gone. One minute, your husband is faithful. The next, he’s screwing a 24 year old and you’re wondering if your best friend actually knows a guy.”
“You do batshit-crazy things when you’re drowning. When you’re underwater, you’ll grab on to whatever’s closest to you if it means you can take one more breath.”
This book is about heartbreak, loss, grief, guilt, abduction, betrayal, marriage, love, hope, rage, lies, family, friendship, desperation, and greed. It’s a very entertaining read with well developed, complicated characters, and a fast-paced plot. I highly recommend it.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Note: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley exchange for an honest review.