Review - Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan @JennyBoylan @CrownPublishing

Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Date Read: May 27, 2017
Length:  304 Pages
Source: Blogging for Books
From the New York Times bestselling author of She’s Not There, a new novel about a woman whose family and identity are threatened by the secrets of her past.

Long Black Veil is the story of Judith Carrigan, whose past is dredged up when the body of her college friend Wailer is discovered 20 years after her disappearance in Philadelphia’s notorious and abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary. Judith is the only witness who can testify to the innocence of her friend Casey, who had married Wailer only days before her death.

The only problem is that on that fateful night at the prison, Judith was a very different person from the woman she is today. In order to defend her old friend and uncover the truth of Wailer’s death, Judith must confront long-held and hard-won secrets that could cause her to lose the idyllic life she’s built for herself and her family.
My Review

I enjoyed this book quite a bit.  It was a bit of a different story than I expected it to be only because I don't tend to read book summaries very carefully.  I went into this book expecting a straight forward mystery thriller but I think that this book really a bit different.  I didn't really think that the mystery was really the main driving point of the book instead the focus was on the characters and how their lives have changed since the event at the prison.  I am glad that I decided to give the book a try.

This book focuses on several different periods of time.  In 1980, this group of friends were locked in an abandoned prison and one of them never made it out.  The other main focus of the book is set in more recent times when her body is finally discovered.  There are some chapters that are told entirely during one period of time but a lot of the book set in the more recent times include a lot of memories.  The past is obviously still a big part of these characters present day.

The book spends some time with each member of the group that was at the prison that night back in 1980.  The main focus really seemed to be on Judith's life since that day.  Her life is nothing like it was back then.  Her situation has changed dramatically but it really doesn't have anything to do with what happened at the prison that night.

I did have a few issues with the story.  Judith's deception to her husband of many years just seemed like to big of a stretch.  I don't really understand how a close married couple like that would be able to keep such a huge secret from each other.  I also don't get how the body could of been lost for so long when it was right there the whole time.  Did they not do a proper search?  I also feel like I should probably warn readers that there is a scene in this book where an individual is putting shelter dogs to sleep one after another as part of his job.  I know this happens and I really wish it didn't but I know that reading that kind of scene will bother some readers.

The writing is what really won me over with this book.  The story just flowed and even when I was questioning a plot point, I didn't want to put the book down.  The point of views in the story seemed to be changed exactly when they needed to be and I always felt like the book was moving forward.  The memories of the past worked into the sections set in the present worked perfectly.  This was a book that I read very quickly because it completely held my attention.

I would recommend this book to others.  The book isn't perfect but the writing is great and the story is solid.  This is the first book by Jennifer Finney Boylan that I have read but I would definitely pick her work up again in the future.

I received a review copy of this book from Crown Publishing via Blogging for Books.
About the Author

JENNIFER FINNEY BOYLAN, author of fourteen books, is the inaugural Anna Quindlen Writer in Residence at Barnard College of Columbia University in the City of New York and is Special Advisor to the president of Colby College in Maine. She has been a contributor to the Op-Ed page of the New York Times since 2007; in 2013 she became Contributing Opinion Writer for the page. Jenny also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Kinsey Institute for Research on Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. She is the national co-chair of the Board of Directors of GLAAD, the media advocacy group for LGBT people worldwide, and serves as a consultant to several television series. A novelist, memoirist, and short-story writer, she is also a nationally known advocate for civil rights. Jenny has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show on four occasions; Live with Larry King twice; the Today show; the Barbara Walters Special; and NPR’s Marketplace and Talk of the Nation. She has also been the subject of documentaries on CBS News’ 48 Hours and The History Channel. She lives in New York City and in Belgrade Lakes, Maine, with her wife, Deedie, and her two sons, Zach and Sean.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


  1. In your defence, the synopsis is very vague. So I don't blame you for having a different experience than what you were expecting. I'm glad you enjoyed this book, though. Definitely curious because everything about this book seemed cloaked in mystery. Heck, even the cover seemed misleading.

  2. It sounds interesting. It is good you were able to enjoy it,in spite of the issues you encountered.

  3. Oh nope. I was thinking interesting but I'm out over the shelter dog scene. I've had to deal with that enough in my real life in animal rescue. I really appreciate that heads up.

  4. it's great to have a good writing like that even if the book has some flaws too. In a whole it looks well done

  5. I will add this to my to read list. Thanks for your review

  6. I don't always read book summaries thoroughly either--and then often end up being surprised. :-) This sounds really interesting. Thank you for the head's up about the shelter dog scene.


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