One frightening night around the Thanksgiving holiday, someone entered the home of Joe and Hanna Schutt in Everton, New York, and clobbered them both with a croquet mallet, leaving Joe dead and Hanna near death.Now, three years later, Hanna, our first person narrator, still struggles to put together the pieces of that night and fill in the missing blanks, as the man convicted of the crime, Rud Petty, who had been their daughter Dawn’s boyfriend, has won an appeal.

There will be a new trial, and the pressure has escalated, as the DA hopes that Hanna will remember the moments she lost and help them with the case.

How can Hanna do that, as all she can recall are bits and pieces?

But then her daughter Dawn, who hasn’t returned to the house since the crime three years before, calls to ask if she can come home from New Mexico, where she has been living. The older daughter, Iris, who believes that somehow Dawn was involved in what happened, is irate that she has returned. But Iris is married, with a young child, so she doesn’t appear in the home very often.

Even though there is a mystery hovering overhead, the story, Lacy Eye, is a character-driven tale of a woman trying to discover who her younger daughter really is, by truly seeing her behavior and recalling the patterns that revealed themselves over the years. She struggles with the conflicts she feels whenever she realizes something truly disheartening about her daughter, like her inability to think of anyone but herself, with a special disregard for the feelings and possessions of others; her tendency to expect the care and attention of others, while giving nothing of herself. As a young adult, she seems unable to get up off the couch and do anything to help her mother, who works hard all day, and continually displays an attitude of entitlement. Her constantly addressing her mother as “Mommy” feels like a cloying attempt to garner favor.

I really could not stand Dawn, but Iris’s attitudes were equally off-putting. Her condescending attitude toward her mother, as well as to Dawn, had a hint of arrogance about it. However, by the end of the book, she had redeemed herself in my view.

I felt sorry for Hanna, who was left with a disfigurement on the right side of her face, but I felt impatient with her tendency to give Dawn a free pass, who, as a child, struggled with amblyopia, from which the name “Lacy Eye” came–Dawn refused to call the condition “lazy eye.” She was bullied by other kids, but there was always a sense that even before the “lazy eye” made its appearance, she was missing some major ingredient of likability.

The family dynamics of Joe, Hanna, and the girls had an undercurrent of denial threading through almost everything that happened. Joe was strict, but Hanna ignored most of what she didn’t want to see and allowed things to happen, setting them all up for disaster, in my opinion. When Hanna appeared heavily steeped in denial, Joe often called her out on her “lacy eye,” a term he used to describe her inability to see what was right in front of her.

It is easy to blame the victim, however, and throughout, I kept coming back to a sense of heavy uneasiness whenever Dawn showed up in a scene. What was going on beneath the surface with her? Would Hanna finally remember the significant details of that night? Would clarity allow her to truly see her daughter?

As events moved toward a conclusion, I could not help but grow intensely anxious, wondering how it would all play out. I was thoroughly immersed and connected with the story and the characters. The writing kept me engaged, and the characterizations were so fully developed that I left the story behind with a great sense of satisfaction. Definitely a 5 star read.



  2. I’ve been watching for some reactions to this and am glad to hear that it worked so well for you. I’ve got it on my list and will perhaps read it soon. Thanks for sharing!


Please leave your thoughts. Comments, not awards, feed my soul. Thanks!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.