Reviews

Reviews

A Young Wife | Perfect Family | Speak Softly, She Can Hear

A Young Wife

“In this compelling read, Lewis beautifully captures the essence of a place, from the lushness of the Netherlands to the wilds of Argentina to the inhospitable urban streets of New York.”
—Booklist

“…a stirring journey…its images are undeniably alluring.”
—BookPage

“In her third novel, loosely based on the life of her grandmother, Lewis (Perfect Family) delivers an exuberant protagonist whose adventures begin when she immigrates to Argentina in 1912. When 15-year-old Minke van Aisma leaves her small Netherlands village to care for the dying wife of well-to-do businessman Sander DeVries in Amsterdam, she does not expect a marriage proposal, but when his wife dies, that’s exactly what she gets. Sander asks Minke to be his wife and go with him to Comodoro Rivadavia, an oil boomtown in Argentina. On the long sea voyage Minke discovers her inner strength and sense of adventure, and she grows close with Sander’s longtime friend Cassian, a steerage boy named Pieps, and a Dutch couple also hoping to get rich quick. This group makes up Minke’s world in Comodoro Rivadavia, a lawless town full of men and booze. Within her first year there, Minke has a baby boy and becomes pregnant again, learns to ride a horse and speak Spanish, and discovers that her husband is far from perfect. An attack on Cassian and the kidnapping of Minke’s son set in motion life-altering events as Minke moves to New York and deals with such problems as infidelity, drugs, and gambling. Despite anachronisms in the voice, the unexpected twists in Minke’s story and her feisty appeal will keep readers eager to turn the page.”
—Publishers’ Weekly

Perfect Family

“Pam Lewis is the literary equivalent of a forensic scientist. In her compelling second novel, Perfect Family, Lewis pulls the body of a beautiful young woman from a lake, then, layer by suspensful layer, unpeels and reveals a well-to-do family’s secrets, lies, and hidden heartaches. I was riveted.”
—Wally Lamb, New York Times bestselling author of She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True

“Lewis skillfully lures the reader through her narrative maze with plenty of plot twists.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“In this fast-paced novel, secrets haunt an old-money Connecticut family after an accident taints their vacation home. As they attempt to understand the tragedy, the truth of their matriarch’s past is revealed, spinning them into a reexamination of their identity. You’ll be swept up too.”
Hallmark Magazine

“Nothing about Pam Lewis’ Perfect Family feels clichéd…Lewis’ plot twists and turns to a satisfying conclusion.”
Parade

“Lewis’s thrilling and gritty novel dispels the myth of the ‘perfect family.’ The characters are flawed, insecure, and enmeshed in a compelling conflict that will satisfy the authors’ many fans.”
Library Journal

“Pam Lewis’ Perfect Family is a masterful, atmospheric tale about the ways in which family secrets, no matter how long they’re buried, can wield their tremendous power.”
—NewReads.com

“Perfect Family is an engrossing read dealing with the consequences of betrayal and secrets…I found the characters to be unforgettable.”
—Maddy Van Hertbruggen, ReviewingTheEvidence.com

“The dark secrets of an apparently "perfect family" are familiar fodder for entertainment, but nothing about Pam Lewis’ Perfect Family feels clichéd. From the moment 24-year-old Pony Carteret drowns at her family’s lakefront home, readers will be as obsessed as her brother William with uncovering the secrets that led to her death. As the story unfolds and the rest of the family gets involved, Lewis’ plot twists and turns to a satisfying conclusion.”
Parade Picks

“Long-festering secrets erupt with devastating consequences to Connecticut’s moneyed Carteret clan in Lewis’s second novel (after Speak Softly, She Can Hear), a literate page-turner. When 24-year-old Pony, the family’s daredevil golden girl, drowns while skinny-dipping at their Vermont lake house, her death leaves her year-old son, Andrew, an orphan-as well as a hornet’s nest of troubling questions. Why had Pony begged big brother William to meet her in Vermont that day? Did someone else show up after they quarreled and William stormed off? Who is Andrew’s father? And was Pony’s death really an accident? Widowed patriarch Jasper Carteret III and bossy eldest daughter Tinker seem less interested in answers than damage control. But William, heartsick at whatever role his departure might have played in the tragedy, starts digging. Before long, some of his startling discoveries challenge his core beliefs about the people he thought he knew well. Lewis skillfully lures the reader through her narrative maze with plenty of plot twists—most of them credible until an over-the-top climax—without compromising a masterful portrait of a quirky New England family in crisis.
Publishers Weekly

Speak Softly, She Can Hear

“Pam Lewis’ novel vividly captures the hippie era of free love, pot and rock ‘n’ roll, developing an unsettling and mesmerizing psychological thriller.”
Ann Hellmuth, The Orlando Sentinel

“This psychological thriller is an excellent debut for first-time novelist Lewis. Her settings are vibrant, from the hippie culture in San Francisco to rural small-town life in Vermont. Her descriptions, especially of angst-ridden teen years and those friendships that pull us through them, are dead on. In subtle strokes, she paints a menacing darkness around Carole, who, no matter how far she runs, can’t seem to escape the threat lurking in the shadows.”
Karen Carlin, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Gripping…with a freshness that sets it apart from the thriller genre. There is a queasy darkness to the novel that the reader will savor. Once begun, it’s a hard book to let go of, and the writer’s skill prompts rereading of passages for their craft alone.”
New York Post

“This debut psychological thriller is full of promise for author Pam Lewis, who takes various familiar genre elements and gives them some fresh twists.”
Chicago Tribune

“Well-written and gripping…Readers will stay up late to see whether beleaguered, tortured Carole can free herself from the despicable Eddie.”
Publishers Weekly

“The very first chapter of Speak Softly, She Can Hear fires an electric charge that sent me racing through this sexy and suspenseful psychological thriller. Pam Lewis is a sly and sure-footed storyteller whose literary tale of treachery, deception, and truth sits comfortably alongside Donna Tartt’s The Secret History and Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley.”
Wally Lamb, New York Times bestselling author of author of She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True

"Pam Lewis will keep you guessing, she’ll keep you up late at night, but most of all, she will bring you back to the friendships and betrayals of your past. Smart, clever, and emotionally involving. You’ll never feel the same way about keeping a secret."
Brad Meltzer, New York Times bestselling author of The Tenth Justice and The Zero Game

"Gripping, . . . with a freshness that sets it apart from the thriller genre. There is a queasy darkness to the novel that the reader will savor. Once begun, it’s a hard book to let go of, and the writer’s skill prompts rereading of passages for their craft alone."
Daniel Sams, New York Post

“.. .the perfect recommendation for thriller fans-so many exciting twists and turns and one of the best written villains I’ve read in a long time. I could not put it down.”
Jan Warner-Poole, Storyteller Books, Battle Ground, WA

"This psychological thriller is an excellent debut for first-time novelist Lewis. Her settings are vibrant, from the hippie culture in San Francisco to rural small-town life in Vermont. Her descriptions, especially of angst-ridden teen years and those friendships that pull us through them, are dead on. In subtle strokes, she paints a menacing darkness around Carole, who, no matter how far she runs, can’t seem to escape the threat lurking in the shadows."
Karen Carlin, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"WOW! . . . I simply couldn’t stop reading Speak Softly, She Can Hear— frightening yet enthralling, it kept me awake all night. Eddie, the manipulative villain, is every parent’s nightmare. As he drew the girls deeper into his power I was both horrified and fascinated. The book is being enthusiastically passed from staff member to staff member and I have a feeling that all 65 of us will be putting it into our favorite customers’ hands."
Elaine Petrocelli, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

"Pam Lewis’ novel vividly captures the hippie era of free love, pot and rock ‘n’ roll, developing an unsettling and mesmerizing psychological thriller."
Ann Hellmuth, The Orlando Sentinel

"This debut psychological thriller is full of promise for author Pam Lewis, who takes various familiar genre elements and gives them some fresh twists."
Chicago Tribune

"[A] chillingly elegant first novel."
Joanne Sasvari, The Calgary Herald

"Well-written and gripping. . . Readers will stay up late to see whether beleaguered, tortured Carole can free herself from the despicable Eddie."
Publishers Weekly

“I loved Speak Softly, She Can Hear. It’s a great read–kept me going from beginning to end. I’m going to add this to my ‘must read’ list.”
Paul Pessolano, Borders Books & Music, Snellville, GA

"Inventively plotted. . . . Nicely written first effort . . . "
Kirkus Reviews

“I started Speak Softly on Christmas and read it most of the day as I traveled by plane to visit family. Once there, I spent most of the next day finishing it–I was compelled by the story and the characters. A quick, interesting, well-crafted read.”
Darla Roy, Read All About It Bookstore, Boerne, Texas

"Lewis, in her debut novel, tells an engrossing tale of an unlikely friendship, the burden of keeping secrets, and the insidiousness of lies."
Booklist

“Being a huge fan of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, I am always wary when someone makes a comparison to it. This time I must say I was not disappointed. This well-crafted tale of friendships, secrets, and lies will have you compulsively turning the pages in a cautious yet irresistible race to discover the fate of the novel’s central character. In her debut novel, Ms. Lewis has turned out an excellent literary thriller. Bravo!”
Stephen Cropper, Davis-Kidd Booksellers, Memphis, TN

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