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The Elizas    by Sara Shepard order for
by Sara Shepard
Order:  USA  Can
Atria, 2018 (2018)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Eliza Fontaine is a successful debut novelist, who seems to have serious mental health problems. She has attempted suicide before. As The Elizas opens, she's rescued from the bottom of a hotel pool. Her family assumes it was another suicide attempt, but Eliza is absolutely certain that she was pushed.

Unfortunately, she also suffers memory loss, though slivers come back to her from time to time. She obsessively tries to re-construct events, even though everyone around her seems to be trying to stop her. And why is her family so against her novel's publication - The Dots is a fictional coming of age story, isn't it?

Eliza sees conspiracies everywhere - are they real or only in her mind? She seems to go off the rails and binge on alcohol on a regular basis. She sleeps with strangers. As we read we wonder if she is at all redeemable, and she seems to as well. She had a brain tumor the year before and blames a great deal on that. No wonder her family want to commit her to a psych ward!

As Eliza continues to investigate what really happened to her, readers get to read excerpts from her novel, which is about a girl named Dot who loves the aunt who is her namesake. Aunt Dorothy lived a colorful, wild life, and young 'Dot thought Dorothy was the most amazing person ever.'

They seem obsessed with each other, and the aunt stays by her side in the hospital after Dot becomes ill with puzzling seizures, and is treated for a brain tumor. At this point, readers notice the similarities between Dot's life and Eliza's - how much do their stories overlap? Chapters alternate between their points of view, twisting and turning in every direction.

I've never been that keen on psychological mysteries, but if you do enjoy them, you'll love The Elizas, which is intricate and cleverly written.

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