Reviewed by Melanie Kline
Heloise is a madam – a very high class, record keeping, tax filing, moral madam, but a madam just the same. Heloise runs the Women’s Full Employment Network, a boutique lobbying firm whose mission statement identifies it as a nonprofit focused on income parity for all women. In reality, the business is a front to cover her true occupation and those she employs. Heloise has had a hard life and has worked her way to the top through her own blood, sweat and tears, but she simply cannot seem to escape her past completely no matter how hard she tries.
Helen Lewis a.k.a. Heloise Lewis had an abusive childhood and escaped with a young lover who swore he loved her and wanted to marry her. Unfortunately, all Billy really wanted was to use her for drug money. Heloise accepted the help of Valentine Day Deluca a.k.a. Val to escape Billy’s abuse only to find herself as a prostitute in his home – unable to leave the house for any reason other than to work. She was not allowed to see friends or have contact with the outside world in any way. When Val was finally arrested and sent to prison, Heloise found herself on the street with nothing and used what she “knew” to climb the ladder to a better life.
And When She Was Good was a thrilling read that I could not put down. While Heloise is a madam, the focus of the story is not on the sex. The book alternates chapters between the present and the past – giving you the opportunity to understand how Heloise arrived at this point in her life. A fan of Laura Lippman already, this book far exceeds any of her previous works and will be remembered for a long time.
I highly recommend this book to anyone, as it covers almost every topic possible – love, abuse, despair, secret pregnancies, murder investigations, corrupt politicians, bribery, control – it’s all there promising to keep any reader in it’s grip until the very end.
Also by Laura Lippman:
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.