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The American Girl    by Kate Horsley order for
American Girl
by Kate Horsley
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2016 (2016)
Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

American exchange student Quinn Perkins stumbles out of the woods near St. Roch, a small French village. She is barefoot and covered in blood but remembers nothing of what happened to her. She can't even remember her name. The Blavettes, her host family, have disappeared.

The media descends on the hospital where Quinn was taken. No one is permitted to see the young woman, but Molly Swift, a reporter from Boston, is determined to interview Quinn. She presents herself as an aunt to a girl who doesn't know her own identity, let alone who her aunt might be.

Quinn is arrested for a variety of reasons and Molly, as Quinn's aunt, sets out to discover what really happened to Quinn and the Blavette family. Molly really wants the scoop, but realizes she is beginning to care for the young woman. Can she admit that she is not Quinn's aunt and lose the girl's trust in her? Or should she continue the charade?

The plot of Kate Horsley's The American Girl is tight and well-written. The character of Molly Swift plays very well in the story. We can anguish with her over her dilemma. And it is hard to figure out whether Quinn really knows why she stumbled out of the woods as she did and what caused her to lose her memory.

Kate Horsley's first novel, The Monster's Wife, was short-listed for the Scottish First Book of the Year Award. If you like psychological thrillers An American Girl is the one for you. It will grab you and won't let go until the last page. Is Quinn to be pitied or jailed for murder?

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