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The Secret Life of Carolyn Russell - a missing woman's unsolved case is explored in a podcast.

The story opens in 2014 in the small village of Belmont in Lancashire, England. Journalist Stephanie Brett has lost her job writing for the local newspaper, where she'd worked for decades. When she started her career, the big story was the disappearance of sixteen-year-old Carolyn Russell who left her school after exams and was never seen again. That was in 1979 and while there had been theories over the years, the case was still unsolved, and Carolyn's fate remained a mystery. Stephanie was encouraged to create a podcast about Carolyn's case. The story shifts from 2014 to 1979 and back as Carolyn's story is revealed. Stephanie's podcast starts taking shape with enlightening interviews with Carolyn's sister, mother, friends and others. One thing comes to light. Carolyn had secrets. But will Stephanie be able to crack the case?

I was first introduced to author Gail Aldwin when I read her book This Much Huxley Knows, a charming and insightful tale of a special seven-year-old boy. Aldwin's latest, The Secret Life of Carolyn Russell, is quite different. It held my interest throughout and kept me guessing. Seeing the world through the eyes of Carolyn was revealing and at times heartbreaking. As with Aldwin's last book, this is a very British novel, with expressions and references not always well-known to this reader. But nothing that a little Googling didn't solve. Universal themes including gender inequality and racism were thought provoking and well presented as well as teenage angst and yearning. I recommend checking out this page turner.

Many thanks to the author for the advance copy.

Rated 4 out of 5 stars.

Psychological Mystery Thriller.

Publication Date: July 3, 2023.

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