Until She Comes HomeUntil She Comes Home by Lori Roy
My rating: 3/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne Star

2014 edgar nominee for best novel!

until she comes home is about the women, the wives living on a street in a white detroit neighborhood in 1958. their cozy world of bake sales and homemaking is shattered as the racial divide begins to shift, as black women entice their husbands near the factory where they work, and black men cut through the alleys on their street, breaking glass and committing an act of violence towards one of the women. when a developmentally disabled woman goes missing soon after a black woman is murdered near the factory, fingers are pointed from behind curtained windows.

the changing racial climate is what initially brings about the novel’s fear and tension, but the reality is that the street was already corroded from within. suspicions, mysterious deaths, infidelities, and unsavory attractions were already there, just all hidden beneath the veneer of perfectly frosted carrot cakes and spotless gloves.

but things are starting to come to the surface.

things start small, as they always do, with the faintest ripples, but by the end of this novel, the fear and crimes will have grown into a whirlpool, sucking the entire street down into a spiral of crime and revenge and betrayal and death.

and those horrors, to me, as bad as they are, are nothing compared to the more ordinary horrors a modern reader will experience.

the horror of being a woman when sexuality was such a minefield and appearances of propriety were so valued that we have a character whose mother encourages her not to tell her husband that she was raped in her own garage when she was already hugely pregnant because she worries that if he finds out, he won’t look at her the same again. that, to me, is almost as horrifying as the rape itselfto have to smile and get dinner on the table while mom covers up the bruises with makeup and everything is just peachy.

the horror of living in a neighborhood where everyone knows everyone’s business, and a woman suspects her husband of infidelity, worrying what the neighbors will think of the absence of his car in the driveway, when all the other husbands have already come home.

the horror of…twins…

that one is probably just my own personal horror.

a woman is murdered, a woman goes missing, a woman is raped. suspicions form, blame is placed, crimes are covered up, and nothing is going to unfold the way you think it will.

roy does a really good job depicting the attitudes and mindsets of cloistered women, which was frequently horrifying to me, but rings true. shudder. it is a tidy and surprising crime novel with a satisfying tailfeather spread of an ending, and a fascinating study of neighborhood politics.

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