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and when she was good Paperback – August 14, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: WilliamMr; 1 edition (August 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061706876
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061706875
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (244 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“AND WHEN SHE WAS GOOD is a steady, surprising tale… Ms. Lippman’s nominal subject may be prostitution, but her book is not about a woman who takes care of clients. It’s about a woman who can take care of herself.” (New York Times)

“Shifting smoothly from Heloise’s past to her present, Lippman delivers an intense character study about a strong, complex woman whose love for her son compels her to make some desperate choices.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“ [Lippman] slowly ratchets up the tension until the final, blood-drenched showdown . . . It’s page-turner...” (Library Journal (starred review))

From the Back Cover

Perennial New York Times and nationally bestselling author and acclaimed multiple–prize winner Laura Lippman delivers a brilliant novel about a woman with a secret life who is forced to make desperate choices to save her son and herself.

When Hector Lewis told his daughter that she had a nothing face, it was just another bit of tossed-off cruelty from a man who specialized in harsh words and harsher deeds. But twenty years later, Heloise considers it a blessing to be a person who knows how to avoid attention. In the comfortable suburb where she lives, she's just a mom, the youngish widow with a forgettable job who somehow never misses a soccer game or a school play. In the state capitol, she's the redheaded lobbyist with a good cause and a mediocre track record.

But in discreet hotel rooms throughout the area, she's the woman of your dreams—if you can afford her hourly fee.

For more than a decade, Heloise has believed she is safe. She has created a rigidly compartmentalized life, maintaining no real friendships, trusting few confidantes. Only now her secret life, a life she was forced to build after the legitimate world turned its back on her, is under siege. Her once oblivious accountant is asking loaded questions. Her longtime protector is hinting at new, mysterious dangers. Her employees can't be trusted. One county over, another so-called suburban madam has been found dead in her car, a suicide. Or is it?

Nothing is as it seems as Heloise faces a midlife crisis with much higher stakes than most will ever know.

And then she learns that her son's father might be released from prison, which is problematic because he doesn't know he has a son. The killer and former pimp also doesn't realize that he's serving a life sentence because Heloise betrayed him. But he's clearly beginning to suspect that Heloise has been holding something back all these years.

With no formal education, no real family, and no friends, Heloise has to remake her life—again. Disappearing will be the easy part. She's done it before and she can do it again. A new name and a new place aren't hard to come by if you know the right people. The trick will be living long enough to start a new life.


More About the Author

Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working fulltime and published seven books about "accidental PI" Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001. Her work has been awarded the Edgar ®, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards. She also has been nominated for other prizes in the crime fiction field, including the Hammett and the Macavity. She was the first-ever recipient of the Mayor's Prize for Literary Excellence and the first genre writer recognized as Author of the Year by the Maryland Library Association. Ms. Lippman grew up in Baltimore and attended city schools through ninth grade. After graduating from Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, Md., Ms. Lippman attended Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her other newspaper jobs included the Waco Tribune-Herald and the San Antonio Light. Ms. Lippman returned to Baltimore in 1989 and has lived there since.

Customer Reviews

It kept me guessing until the end!
swilson83
Well written, nicely paced, and with good development of the main characters.
librarylady
I didn't much like the character and found the plot to be a bit contrived.
book lover

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Summary
Helen/Heloise escaped an abusive household right into the arms of her first "pimp" Billy...who then passed her along to Val. With no education, no money, no skills, and no self-confidence whatsoever at all, Heloise falls into a life from which there is no escape. Over time Heloise does learn survival skills, sometimes doing things that she wishes she didn't have to in order to stay alive and keep hoping for a better day. An unexpected pregnancy is the impetus for her escape attempt and puts the wheels in motion for a life of running from the truth. Heloise creates her own prostitution business and stays barely a step or two ahead of being discovered for what she has been and really is...all the while learning more about life and what it takes to make it in a world where no one receives a break for free. The takers are the only ones who win.

What I Liked
Val - as evil as he was...and he was evil (and mean), I thought this character was incredibly well developed. He's a thug, no doubt, but the reader can't help to respect him and even fear him a little.
Heloise's self made education through books and courses online that she found relevant to her life and her sense of self. Isn't this what education should be all about?
Audrey - Heloise and Audrey's relationship was complicated. As Heloise's right hand woman, the reader's first instinct is for them to be close...but both are damaged, and damaged just enough that neither completely lets down her guard...ever. Yet, the relationship works. There's a lot to be said about true unconditional friendship between women. I think women in today's society have grown too accustomed to tearing each other down rather than helping hold each other up. No whining here at all...
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Luanne Ollivier TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
3.5/5

I'm a long time fan of author Laura Lippman and her Tess Monaghan series. But Lippman has written a number of stand alone novels that I've really enjoyed as well. Every book is an adventure as you're never quite sure what to expect from this award winning author.

When I read the opening chapters of And When She Was Good, I felt like I had already met the protagonist - Heloise. On further investigation I found I had. Lippman contributed a story to an anthology called Death Do Us Part in 2006 that featured Heloise - a high end prostitute.

Heloise is now a madam - running her own service. She's a single mom to twelve year old Scott. To everyone in her suburban neighbourhood, she's a widow who works as a lobbyist for wage parity. But in her basement office, she runs a successful and elite escort service. And she's very, very careful to keep the parts of her life separated. But the past has a way of catching up.....

Lippman has written a book that has mystery, crime and suspense elements to it. And they're good, but not edge of your seat stuff. (Who the bad guy is is fairly obvious) The basic premise of the book has been done before, but Lippman's exploration of prostitution does generate lots of food for thought.

Instead, it was Heloise's story that was the big draw. We follow her life from a teen in a dysfunctional family, to a young woman falling in with the wrong man, to working for a really wrong man and to the birth of her son. And the desire to protect him at all costs. Heloise intrigued me - her instinct to survive, her strength and her drive were admirable. I applauded her 'do what you have to do attitude', but unfortunately, I just found I never really liked her. But I did enjoy her story, although I found the ending a little too neatly tied up.

I'm still a big fan of Lippman, but this latest offering was not the best of the bunch for this reader.
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Format: Paperback
First Line: The headline catches Heloise's eye as she waits in the always-long line at the Starbucks closest to her son's middle school.

Heloise Lewis has spent most of her life avoiding attention. She lives in a comfortable suburb where very little is known about her. Ask anyone in the neighborhood and they'd probably tell you that she's a youngish widow with a beautifully mannered son, and that she's a lobbyist who always seems able to attend all her son's soccer games and school plays.

But almost all of that is a lie. Since the age of seventeen, Heloise has been a prostitute. When her pimp was imprisoned for murder, she changed her name and set herself up as a suburban madam. It's not only important for her work that she remain beneath everyone's radar, it's important for the life she's created for herself and her son. She's kept the boy a secret from his father, and even though she's visited the man twice a month in prison for over a decade, she's kept the boy a secret from his father.

But Heloise's rigidly compartmentalized life is beginning to unravel. Her accountant is asking questions that he shouldn't. One of her former employees is causing problems. Her protector is hinting at some sort of mysterious danger she should prepare herself for. Another suburban madam in the next county is an alleged suicide... and her son's father may be released from prison. The pimp/ murderer doesn't know he has a son, and he doesn't know that Heloise is the person who betrayed him.

This woman, who has no formal education, no real family, and no friends, must put an end to this life and create a brand-new one for herself and her son. Disappearing is the easy part. She's done it before, and she knows she can do it again.
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