Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Hallie Ephron's "You'll Never Know, Dear"

New York Times bestselling author Hallie Ephron, Edgar Award finalist and four-time finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, writes books she hopes readers can’t put down. Her newest suspense novel, You’ll Never Know, Dear is set in South Carolina; it tells the story of a little girl’s disappearance and the porcelain doll that may hold the key to her fate.

Here Ephron dreamcasts an adaptation of You’ll Never Know, Dear:
One of my favorite reviews of You’ll Never Know, Dear came from Kirkus: “Would have been a great vehicle for Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, including all the slightly creepy dolls.” Taking that as my lead, I’d want to subtitle (do movies have subtitles?) my movie What Ever Happened to Baby Janey?

Right. Maybe. Though horror fans would be disappointed, because though the book is creepy (and full of mildly creepy dolls and doll parts), it's more suspense edging over into women’s fiction. It tells the story of a little girl’s disappearance and the porcelain doll that may hold the key to her fate, but what propels the narrative is the complicated relationships among three generations of women. That, in turn, is powered by secrets.

Still, taking a cue from Kirkus, my dream cast would be:

Sorrel “Miss Sorrel” Woodham: Joan Crawford

Miss Sorrel is an elegant older woman and gifted artist, famous for her porcelain dolls; her four-year-old daughter Janey disappeared forty years ago, along with a “portrait doll” Miss Sorrel had made for her.

Evelyn Dumont: Bette Davis

Evelyn lives next door to Miss Sorrel, helps her make and repair dolls, and has been her best friend ever since they were girls. Of Evelyn, Miss Sorrel says, “She won a baby contest and never got over it.”

Elisabeth “Lis” Woodham Strenger: Reese Witherspoon

Miss Sorrel’s older daughter, a single mom who had to move home in the wake of a messy divorce; forty years ago she was supposed to be watching her sister Janey when she disappeared. Now she sometimes feels as if all she’s doing is serving time and worrying about her own daughter, Vanessa.

Vanessa Strenger: Emma Watson

Lis’s daughter, a psychologist who lives in Providence where she studies the science of sleep and dreams. Ambitious, independent, she appreciates and resents her mother’s smothering, protective instincts.

Jenny Richards: Mary Louise Parker

Once a homeless drug addict, is she Janey Woodham?

Maggie Richards: Kristen Stewart

Jenny Richards brittle, angry daughter who’s trying to take care of her mother and also make an independent future for herself.

Frank “Officer Frank” Ames: Tom Hanks

Lis’s long time friend and more; much older than Lis, he was a rookie cop when Janey disappeared. Now Lis wonders if he’s the "good guy" that he seems to be.
Learn more about the book and author at Hallie Ephron's website.

--Marshal Zeringue